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Learning more about specialists in mental health and mental capacity

Our head of policy Amy introduces our most recent research commission as we build our understanding of approved mental health professionals and best interests assessors.

Learning more about specialists in mental health and mental capacity

2/4/2021 10:00:00 AM

We are committed to building a richer understanding of social work by gathering data and intelligence about the profession and people’s experiences. This will inform our work over future years and make sure our regulation continues to be built on the values that underpin social work.

Now into our second year as the specialist social work regulator, an important area of our work is developing an approach to regulation of specialist roles. We are responsible for overseeing qualifying courses for approved mental health professionals (AMHPs) and, from 2022, the new role of approved mental capacity professionals (AMCPs), which will replace best interests assessors (BIAs). We also set standards for professionals in these roles and we’ll be consulting on this work later in 2021.

To pave the way to consultation and to inform our work around these specialisms, we’re pleased to announce that we recently commissioned a research project to find out more about social workers working as specialists in mental health and mental capacity. This includes a focus on standards for practice, understanding professionals’ knowledge, skills and experience and exploring the nature of approved mental health professional and best interests assessor education and training.

Building on emerging, but limited, research evidence, a research team across Sheffield Hallam University and the University of Central Lancashire are looking to increase understanding on aspects of professional identity and the impact that professionals can have on people’s lives through the decisions they make and support they provide.

The research will include conversations with approved mental health professionals, best interests assessors and people with lived experience, as well bringing together the latest research in the sector. This will support our work to determine the best way to use our regulatory powers to support and oversee approved mental health professionals and approved mental capacity professionals. The report is expected to be ready in Spring and will be shared on our website later this year.

How to participate in the survey

Qualified and practising approved mental health professionals and best interests assessors are invited complete the relevant online survey below. Should you agree to take part, you will be taken through a series of questions that will explore different aspects of the work. You will be also asked to consider a participant information sheet and confirm your consent for your survey responses to be included in the study. 

If you’d like to know more about the research, you can contact Jill Hemmington, senior lecturer and course leader for approved mental health professional (AMHP) qualifying and post-qualifying training at University of Central Lancashire at [email protected].

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