Birmingham and Solihull liaison and diversion service win at the Howard League Awards

February 2019

Photo by Andy Aitchison. The awards were presented by Gerry Marshall (second from the right), Trustee, Howard League for Penal Reform and Chair of the awards judging panel.

Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation NHS Trust (photo by A...

Pictured: Laura Brown (Practitioner and Lead for Youth Services), Aruna Patel (Lead Practitioner for the Courts), Steve Jenkins, (Liaison & Diversion Service Lead), Gerry Marshall, Kevin Heffernan (Lead Commissioner).

In November, 2018, the Birmingham and Solihull liaison and diversion service won in the liaison and diversion category at the Howard League for Penal Reform Annual Community Awards.

The service was praised for how it has built upon the national liaison and diversion service specification and further developed ways of working and the way it has established and maintained formal partnerships with statutory and voluntary sector providers.

Throughout 2018, the service has been at the forefront of three successful national pilots. One was on the employment of people with lived experience of the Criminal Justice System and complex needs (called ‘Peer Mentors’), another was liaison and diversion provision into the Crown Court and the third was a pilot concerning the use of Mental Health Treatment Requirements for defendants.

The service reports high engagement rates since its inception (with 80% of those offered liaison and diversion support accepting it). It was noted how the service provides hope and assists in the recovery of clients, helping them to re-engage with society, and how the outcomes for these individuals have often been remarkable.

Steve Jenkins, liaison and diversion Service Lead, notes: ‘This award is the culmination of hard work, commitment, innovation, inspiration…over the last 3 ½ years. Our service users have been the main beneficiaries of a team that is dedicated to ensuring that the best service possible is delivered in a timely, empathic and caring way…

I would like to take this opportunity to give recognition and gratitude to our the many organisations we work alongside. Their welcoming attitude and their willingness to embrace systems change and a new model of working has ensured that these challenges have been successfully overcome to the ultimate benefit of some of the most vulnerable individuals in society today. Partner agencies such as Shelter, Birmingham Changing Future’s, Anawim, the National Probation Service, Her Majesties Courts, Judges and Magistrates, Learning Disability Services, West Midlands Police and many others have all been instrumental.… Special thanks should go to our Lead Commissioner, Kevin Heffernan, our Clinical Director, Jeremy Kenney-Herbert and our Associate Director, Peter Wilson. Their unstinting backing of our innovative approach to L&D has enabled the team to develop and to become a national pilot site for so many strands of the service.

Wakefield liaison and diversion service also scoop an award at the Howard League Awards event

February 2019

Photo by Andy Aitchison. The awards were presented by Gerry Marshall (on the right), Trustee, Howard League for Penal Reform and Chair of the awards judging panel.

West Yorkshire Liaison and Diversion (photo by Andy Aitchison)Pictured: Sam Greenwood (Peer support Worker), Farzana Begum (Youth support time recovery worker), April Hill (Youth support time recovery worker), Gerry Marshall.

Congratulations also to the Wakefield L&D Youth Pathway of the West Yorkshire liaison and diversion service, which won the ‘Policing and Children’ category at the Howard League for Penal Reform Annual Community Awards for its innovative work with children and young people referred to the liaison and diversion service.

Clint Hepworth, Programme Manager, said the following: ‘To receive recognition from The Howard League for Penal Reform is a real honour. It acknowledges the dedication, hard work and commitment of all our practitioners who provide valuable support and diversion opportunities for young people to maximize life the chances for young people in West Yorkshire.

Our strong partnerships with Police, Youth Offending Teams and all our partners have been key to the success of the West Yorkshire L&D Service. The development of our peer support workers has enhanced our young person’s offer, increasing engagement and better outcomes for young people and their families.’

Revolving Doors Agency recognised for its work developing the liaison an diversion peer support model

February 2019

The Revolving Doors Agency (RDA) received the runner-up award in the ‘Outstanding Organisation’ category at the Criminal Justice Alliance awards. The award was for its co-production of a peer support model that sits within L&D services. The judges praised this ‘clear new model of delivery with excellent evidence of impact’.

Andy Williams, RDA’s Head of Involvement, said:

We are incredibly honoured to win the runner-up award at the Criminal Justice Alliance Awards. What we are most proud of is that this is a model co-created by people with lived experience and NHS England. The peer support model has delivered impressive results. It shows what can be done – lived experience done in the right way can change the world.

Emma, member of RDA’s Lived Experience Team commented:

I am so pleased and honoured to accept this award on behalf of the Lived Experience Team. We are a team of men and women all with recent experience of the criminal justice system but we are fully determined to use our negative experience for positive. We want to make a real difference to people going through the system now. The roll out of the peer support model is something we are incredibly proud of and are confident will change lives. This award recognises the importance of peer support and lived experience and we want to see this across the whole criminal justice system.

National award joy for Dorset’s Liaison and Diversion Service

August 2018

Dorset HealthCare’s L&D service triumphed at the Health Service Journal (HSJ) Patient Safety Awards, held in Manchester in July. The service has worked tirelessly in efforts not only resulting in cost savings for all agencies, but also improved wellbeing and recovery for those suffering mental health episodes during police custody or attendance in court.  An inspection of Dorset Police custody by HM Inspectorate of Prisons, HM Inspectorate of Constabulary and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) in 2016 reported a large reduction in the number of people brought into custody, and significant progress in improving outcomes for this vulnerable group.

This success saw the team win out in the Mental Health category at the HSJ Patient Safety Awards, a national benchmark for excellence in healthcare. Judges said the service, “provides a unique and attentive approach that is forward looking in maintaining safety of a vulnerable group.”

Service lead Stan Sadler said: “We take great confidence in the knowledge that each and every one of our skilled workforce has embraced a model designed to meet the needs of some of most vulnerable people in Dorset. I am overwhelmed and so proud of this wonderful achievement, but mindful that the hard work must continue, along with the strong relationships we have built with other criminal justice organisations and the emergency services.”

Pictured: Pam Pilling (support time and recovery work), Stan Sadler (service lead), Nicola Williams (researcher at Bournemouth University and part time support time and recovery worker).

Greater Manchester Celebrates its Health and Care Champions

August 2018

Kealy Wheatcroft, L&D Facilitator for the Greater Manchester Integrated Custody Healthcare and Wider Liaison and Diversion Service, recently won the ‘Rising Star Award’ at the Greater Manchester Health and Care Champion Awards. Kealy won the award for demonstrating the passion she has for her role and how she has played an integral part in raising the profile of the service, with the police and other agencies, leading to a significant increase in referrals to the service. The L&D Service is delivered in partnership with North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, Care and Custody (Health) and Cheshire and Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company.

Gail Briers, Chief Nurse of North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust, said, “I am so proud of … Kealy for winning The Champion Awards, [she] makes a huge difference to their colleagues and local people, our service users and their families.  It is great to see North West Boroughs Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust staff … being recognised for the fantastic work they do every day.”

Awards for Liaison and Diversion services and practitioners

April 2018

Congratulations to the Coventry L&D service which was crowned the winner at The Howard League Community Awards at the end of 2017, winning the ‘Liaison and Diversion’ Category. The team were also commended for their integrated working with partner agencies at the Awards. Fiona Rose, Team Leader for the service, said “The award is in recognition for all the hard work being undertaken on a daily basis… The dedicated team have already helped many people in ensuring that their care and support needs are adequately met, maintaining professionalism, being non-judgemental and compassionate at all times, sometimes in difficult circumstances. It is therefore fantastic to receive the award which we hope will also raise awareness of the need for Liaison and Diversion services and just how innovative and proactive we are as a team in care delivery”.

Siobhan McKeown, Juliana Olubi-Idowu, Ruth Mccarroll, Winsom Robotham and the Howard League award giver

Some members of the Coventry L&D team receiving the award. Left to Right: Siobhan McKeown, Juliana Olubi-Idowu, Ruth Mccarroll, Winsom Robotham and the Howard League award giver.

Well done to the Birmingham L&D team which won the Excellence in Partnership Working Award at the Quality and Excellence Awards ceremony held by Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust. Also, the L&D’s own Outreach team won runner up in the same category.

Sue Davis CBE, Laura Brown, Clare Barnes, Jenny Love, and Charlotte Bailey.

Sue Davis CBE (Chair of the Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust), Laura Brown, (Birmingham L&D Youth Practitioner), Clare Barnes (L&D team Senior Practitioner and Court Lead), Jenny Love (Administration Manager), Charlotte Bailey (Executive Director of Strategic Partnerships for Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust).

Congratulations also to the Avon and Wiltshire Specialised Liaison and Diversion Peer Support Team which won the Hope and Recovery Award at the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust staff awards.  The Liaison and Diversion Peer Support Project is a national pilot, funded by NHS England. The Peer Supporters have lived experience of criminal justice, mental health and substance misuse and are in recovery. Peers utilise their experience to support hard to engage with criminal justice service users before court to provide guidance and emotional support. They also attend all court appearances. They model recovery and inspire hope. Penny Stanbury, Involvement Coordinator, notes “Our Peer Supporter are fabulous and are a great asset to the Trust, our service users and carers and the LADS team.”

Hayley Richards, Penny Stanbury, Lee Saunders, John Paul Smith, Sarah Chappell, Tara O’Donnell, and Charlotte Hitchings.

Hayley Richards (Chief Executive of the Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust), Penny Stanbury (Involvement Coordinator), Lee Saunders (Peer Support Lead Worker), John Paul Smith (Peer Supporter), Sarah Chappell (Peer Supporter), Tara O’Donnell (Peer Supporter), Charlotte Hitchings (Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust Chair Person).

Congratulations to Bernadette Light who works as a nurse practitioner within the Black Country Liaison and Diversion Team and who recently received the Excellence in Service Delivery Award from West Midlands Police. Bernie has delivered a number of training sessions to the police custody staff. These raised awareness of learning disabilities and autism and how these conditions may impact an individual in custody. Bernie said: “It is great to be recognised by a partner agency like West Midlands Police, I was overwhelmed by the nomination and to be valued for the care that I provide to vulnerable individuals who come into the Custody environment. The evening was brilliant; it really made me feel part of a collaborative team and really demonstrated the importance of working closely with other agencies.”

Sergeant Simon Edwards presenting the award to Bernadette Light

Acting Sergeant Simon Edwards presenting the award to Bernadette Light

The Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust’s Research and Innovation team held their annual event and selected the Black Country L&D service as the ‘Best Research Active Team of 2017,’ for to their hard work and commitment to the RAND evaluation study of L&D services.

Dominic Fisher, Dr. John Roche and Esther Hutchinson

Dominic Fisher (Black Country Liaison and Diversion Team Lead) receiving the award, with Dr. John Roche (‘Research and Innovation Lead’ within Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust), Esther Hutchinson (Research and Innovation Manager within the Black Country Partnership NHS Foundation Trust).

Finally, congratulations to Gloucester L&D service which has won the Police Commanders Commendation award in recognition of Excellence, presented to Andy Webb, Team Manager, by Chief Superintendent Smallwood. It was presented to Andy for his excellent contribution within the L&D team. Andy was recognised as a supportive leader and team member who goes above and beyond on a daily basis to support and guide the police custody team.

Andy said: “This award is a reflection of the dedication of the L&D staff in Gloucestershire working within the custody suite. To receive this commendation is an encouragement and acknowledges the work done in the custody suite showing good working relationships with colleagues from other agencies.”

Police award for Dorset Liaison and Diversion service

September 2017

Dorset’s Liaison and Diversion (L&D) Service, Dorset Healthcare University NHS Foundation Trust, recently received a prestigious honour from Dorset Police. The team were presented with a commendation for their contribution to supporting the police in assisting vulnerable people in both the community and custody settings.

The service works directly from police custodies in Weymouth and Bournemouth, supporting individuals from across the county. The recognition comes following an inspection of Dorset Police custody suites by Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Prisons (HMIP) and Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) last year.

This inspection considered the care offered by the Trust’s L&D service and also their Street Triage initiatives to be excellent and observed the strategic partnership with mental health services which has delivered a significant reduction in the number of people brought into police custody.

Service Manager Stan Sadler said: “Receiving this award has been a great privilege and represents the huge contribution made by our team in pursuit of integrated and highly effective partnership working with Dorset Police.”

The award itself was presented to Stan by Chief Inspector Guy Shimmons and Dorset Police Mental Health Lead Katie Ford at a partnership engagement event in Bournemouth.

Jan Steadman, Head of Criminal Justice and Custody at Dorset Police, said, “Due to the effective strategic partnership with mental health services, detainees of all ages continue to have excellent access to prompt mental health support….

“It is to the credit of the team that we have produced some positive outcomes for people with mental health issues and it was only right and proper that they were commended. We continue to work well together to further improve the services provided with a very cohesive and strong partnership.”

Stan Sadler stands alongside the team with their award.

Black Country Liaison and Diversion service wins local ‘Working in Collaboration’ Award

March 2017

The Black Country Liaison and Diversion (L&D) service has won a local ‘Working in Collaboration’ award. The service operates across the whole of the Black Country area, across two local mental health trusts, and provides support to local police, courts, Youth Offending Teams, probation teams and drug & alcohol services.

The award from the Dudley and Walsall Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust, selected the service as the overall winner due to the development of positive working relationships with local police staff, particularly those within custody suite settings. Police teams working with them reported a change to their own practices as the result of the nurses working alongside them.  Many congratulations to them for all their hard work.

Wakefield Liaison and Diversion service wins Howard League for Penal Reform Community Awards

March 2017

The Wakefield Liaison and Diversion (L&D) service was announced as the winner of the L&D category at the annual Howard League for Penal Reform Community Awards.  Awards were presented by Lord Willy Bach, Police and Crime Commissioner for Leicestershire.

Commissioned by NHS England, the service formed part of the initial national pilot to provide ‘all age’ Liaison and Diversion for ten selected schemes.  Of these, the Wakefield service was the only pilot that extended services from young people to adults.

Clint Hepworth, Wakefield L&D Service team manager, explains what has made the L&D service delivery in Wakefield so successful. “We operate the service with a Multi-Agency team from a range of diverse backgrounds that bring together a vast wealth of experience and knowledge. Our assessments can take place in a range of settings from custody, individual homes, court and community based venues such as a local Well Women Centre.

This means that we can carefully examine each case from a wide range of angles to secure the best plan of action. All support is tailored to each individual, so there is not a sole focus on mental health, but a holistic approach to address any identified needs and vulnerabilities, by practitioners that have a real passion for improving outcomes.  We also offer assistance services for clients to support them with first appointments, ensuring that they are fully engaged with all the right agencies to which they have been referred to, and conducting any required follow up on their behalf. All of these different elements of our service increase confidence amongst partners, such as police and magistrates, in using L&D assessments and guidance as part of decision making and reduce offending.”

Commendation from Thames Valley Police for L&D scheme

October 2016

The Liaison and Diversion team at Abingdon Custody have received a commendation from Thames Valley Police for their immense contribution to those suffering from mental health problems in custody.

The nomination, submitted by Sergeant James Humphries, a Custody Sergeant based at Abingdon Custody, described the contribution of the team as “phenomenal” and reflects the views of many police officers at Abingdon Custody. Finding it difficult to single out an individual, Sergeant Humphries nominated the entire team.

The commendation reads: “The Liaison and Diversion Team at Abingdon Custody are commended for providing an outstanding level of service. They are a beacon for multi-agency partnerships working well with the Custody staff and Health Care Professionals and are praised for their professionalism, work rate and ethics”.

Congratulations to the members of the team: Sarah Kellett, Julie Denton, Paul Tossi, Karen Cook, Mel Slade and Sarah Cellan-Jones.

Oxfordshire L&D team wins Trust clinical team of the year award

July 2016

It is with great pleasure that we congratulate the Oxfordshire Liaison and Diversion team for winning Berkshire Healthcare’s ‘Clinical Team of the Year’ award for 2016. The award is a testament to the team’s commitment to helping people with vulnerabilities and is attested to by other partners.

Dave Cherrington, Chief Inspector and force custody lead for Thames Valley Police, said: “The team at Oxfordshire stand out for their dedication and commitment and it is good to see their excellent work recognised. They work tirelessly and as a team to ensure that detainees identified with vulnerabilities are given appropriate support both in police custody and at court and opportunities are maximised to divert them away from custody in the future. I think the force and those detainees with whom the team come into contact are very lucky to have such a committed team of individuals”.

Sarah Hopkinson, Legal Team Manager for Thames Valley HM Courts and Tribunals Service, said: “Well done – this is well-deserved recognition of all that the team has done to achieve ‘better justice’ and support those who are vulnerable in the criminal justice system. Can I add thanks from the magistrates too, who have benefitted enormously from the information and assistance provided by L&D staff at court”.

A big well done to the team at Oxfordshire. And we look forward to hearing more great news from our services in the future.

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Praise from Thames Valley Police

6 January 2016

Sharing good news doesn’t just have to be about awards won.

Travelling around the country we regularly hear of L&D practitioners going the extra mile for service users – or simply doing their jobs and doing them well. Sometimes we even receive written feedback. The following ringing endorsement is from James Humphries, a Thames Valley Police Custody Sergeant. It’s a great example of the work of L&D staff on the ground and how it is appreciated by the police:

“One day in October, when I was Early Turn Custody Sergeant, I came into a handover which more resembled a mental health ward than a custody suite.

“It seemed that all of our prisoners had mental health needs, which, prior to L&D being embedded in custody, would have caused real concerns for the Health Care Professionals if they had no specialist training.

“However, a ray of sunshine in the form of Sarah Cellan-Jones, Team Lead for Oxfordshire Criminal Justice L&D Service, came to our rescue. Sarah worked all day arranging Mental Health Act assessments and pre- and post-release care for all the prisoners with issues. She also managed to get specialist case workers for several prisoners, which in turn helped our officers interview more efficiently. She even helped us deliver bad news to a violent prisoner.

“Sarah worked tirelessly without complaining or losing her patience, while supporting me and my colleagues to a very high standard. Sarah’s commitment made our working day go smoothly without affecting the rest of the day.”

To share your positive feedback, email the L&D team at