This joint Local Government Association (LGA) and Association of Directors of Social Services (ADASS) research project was carried out between July and November 2014.
Phase one of the research was carried out in July 2014. This took the form of an on-line survey of Directors of Social Services (DASs) and focused on Mental Health Needs Assessments, Strategic Planning and Safeguarding. Phase two of the research was carried out in November 2014. This comprised of interviews with DASs, mental health commissioners and operational managers in 6 areas.
The research was carried out in order to meet a number of our shared commitments in respect of the Mental Health Crisis Concordat, launched in February 2014.
The aims of Concordat, which was signed initially by 22 organisations including the LGA and ADASS, was to set out the standards of care people should expect from public services if they experience a mental health crisis and how the emergency services should respond. It was intended as a key point of reference for good practice to support momentum for national and local organisations to improve commissioning and standards of delivery. A key focus was for local organisations to enable access to support for people before a crisis occurs as well as to ensure that people experiencing a mental health crisis can access timely, effective and integrated services and support.
Since February 2014, all local areas have signed the mental health crisis concordat declaration. This is an important achievement. The challenge now is that areas develop and set out their plans for implementing the concordat locally.
Our aim is that local councils and their partners will find the information and examples of practice contained in this research document a helpful contribution to the work that they are involved in; in planning, commissioning and delivering services for those at risk of mental health crisis. And that it will help stimulate debate and discussion within localities and regions about on how best to meet the needs of this very vulnerable group of citizens.