New careers and skills Framework is a major step forward in the transformation of mental health services in SE London

24 Jun 2024
mental health

An exciting free online resource is now available to help support the growth and transformation of community mental health services across south east London.

The new Mental Health Careers and Skills Framework is the result of more than two years of engagement, collaboration and co-production by the SEL ICS People Programme with multiple local mental health service providers, staff, service users and volunteers from the NHS, voluntary and community organisations and local government.

The Framework aims to develop the skills and capacity of the existing ICS workforce and to promote community mental health (CMH) jobs and careers to new job seekers or those considering a change in career. It features a wide variety of resources, information and materials to support staff wishing to develop their skills; enable managers and leaders to better support their teams; and inform and encourage those in the community to consider working in mental health.

With an estimated one in four adults expected to experience mental health issues each year, it is vital service providers have the resources in place to support them, the most important resource of all being our `one workforce`. It is acknowledged however that staff need the necessary knowledge, confidence and capacity to work flexibly across traditional boundaries and disciplines.

Leads for the Framework project will be working to encourage its extensive use across SEL ICS to help reduce confusion and inconsistency across different roles in CMH and between employers. It is hoped that it will also help to increase understanding of CMH and provide greater clarity on common skills, training and the qualifications required to support effective workforce planning, recruitment and better integrated team working.

Felicity Reed, SEL ICS People Programme Clinical and Professional Lead for Innovation and Head of Community Hubs at Enfield Council said: “We know working in CMH is about being empathetic, knowledgeable and recognising the barriers to accessing services and identifying opportunities to overcome them. The support people need is built on relationships and making sure that we are able to provide a personalised approach. To build effective connections all staff need to be flexible, methodical and trustworthy.

“To clearly describe the skills that are important to providing the help people need from community mental health services, we have worked collaboratively with individuals and organisations who truly understand the realities of working in this area to co-produce the Mental Health Careers and Skills Framework. Our belief is that all services will benefit from using this Framework and it is our vision that it empowers all those working in CMH services in SE London to thrive.”

Project leads also worked closely with the Health & Care Jobs Hub to develop mental health careers and training information on their Hub Online training and jobs platform which now links to the new Framework. This will help ensure a more joined-up approach for users and enable them to access support from the Hub team and view live vacancies from partners.

A key goal for the project is to encourage those underrepresented in the current workforce to consider working in mental health and change perceptions by promoting how rewarding and accessible a career it can be. For example, 65% of community mental health transformation-funded roles, are likely to be non-clinical and not require a professional qualification – with almost half of these roles likely to be employed by voluntary and community organisations.

The website includes guidance on how the resources can help widen participation, develop the current workforce and support organisations to consider their future workforce requirements and features examples of how SE London Mind, the SLaM Recovery College, Southwark Council and Bridge Support plan to use the Framework.

Sally Jones, Director of Operations, SE London Mind said: “At SEL Mind we supported volunteers and service users to be involved in the development of the Framework. We see how the journey between people using our services, becoming a volunteer and then into paid employment is working now and can see how this could support people on that journey.

“The Framework could help provide people with the confidence that is required to make the step from volunteering roles into contemplating applying for a paid position. It can also help people see the skills that they have already developed.”

Contact: For more information about the Mental Health Careers and Skills Framework, email Raphael Broughton, SEL ICS Workforce Transformation Lead at: