The north of England advances with its Liaison and Diversion peer support work

August 2020

Liaison and Diversion (L&D) teams from across the north of England recently came together to explore the mobilisation of ‘peer support’ models for L&D services. Peer support workers work alongside, and support, both L&D practitioners and Support Time Recovery workers, helping them to engage with individuals using the service. You can find out about the history of this programme of work via the national L&D webpages.

The mobilisation support work involved 3 one-day workshops, over a 6-month period, plus additional on-going local support for the L&D teams involved. One practitioner present commented, “Everybody [at the events] was given the confidence to speak clearly and my new peer, Sarah, was made to feel so welcome.”

All the L&D teams involved committed to establishing an ongoing regional ‘peer worker development’ network, which they will coordinate and facilitate as a region. The network will bring together peer workers, peer coordinators, managers and any other designated team members to continue to develop, sustain and share practices. Matt John and Connor Ashworth have kindly agreed to coordinate the next meeting of the network and are happy for anyone Interested to contact them so they can receive updates on the ‘north of England peer support network’.

Kevin Heffernan (Health & Justice commissioner and the national lead for this programme of work) said:It has been a hugely successful process, with some very positive outcomes. Bringing together teams in this way has led to a wonderful collaborative approach, with teams having shared job descriptions and recruitment processes.” Examples of the things services have shared include interview questions, role profiles, plus where and how best to advertise for new workers.

The L&D teams involved began to visit each other to see first-hand progress in other services. The commitment to form an ongoing network has given a meaningful place of connection to new workers wanting to contact other peer workers undertaking similar roles. Also, managers and coordinators have a safe space to explore issues together and teams are keen to support each other to deliver high quality peer work across the region.

The Revolving Door Agency (RDA) has contributed significantly to these initial meetings and the localised support. Particular thanks go to Andy Williams and RDA’s Lived Experience Team for their inspiring and passionate approach to this work.

It is the intention of the national team to support other regions in England to implement, mobilise, develop and sustain their approaches to peer support within L&D, working with the respective regional commissioning teams.

If you have any queries about this programme of work please contact: