For people with complex needs who have or are at risk of coming into contact with the Criminal Justice system
Consensus has a range of specialist forensic services for people with learning disabilities, autism and enhanced needs who have or may in the future be at risk of coming into contact with the Criminal Justice System. We currently support 25+ people within this setting. Some people we support may have stepped down from a secure setting or hospital environment and may be part of the Transforming Care Agenda (overseen by NHS England), others may already be living in the community but require a more intensive person-centred support package to avoid the risk of re-admission.
Our services provide an enhanced or specialist level of support to help individuals to live sustainably in community-based settings. Due to risks associated with individual’s behaviour or the complexity of their needs has meant that there is a real lack of services that can offer such support. Commissioners can therefore often struggle to identify services in the community that have the right environments and skill sets to support people with learning disabilities who have offending behaviours.
Our aim is to provide the support necessary to facilitate the discharge from hospital or other secure settings of people with risk profiles or vulnerabilities that preclude them from accessing mainstream provision.
Our services and teams are trained and experienced in managing and mitigating forensic risks, whilst ensuring dedicated, highly person-centred support plans that recognise individual triggers and anxieties that may result in challenging behaviour. We are passionate about supporting people to live a better quality of life, supporting them to move on from restrictive environments and into community placements that are sustainable and promote greater independence.
Our support, interventions and training
We have a great deal of experience in supporting people who have enhanced levels of need in the community who have lived for many years in secure settings. Each person we support has their own background and story and deserves to receive the right kind of support to enable them to live a fulfilling life
Where individuals display challenging behaviours that may put themselves or others at risk, our in-house Positive Behaviour Intervention Team provides dedicated support strategies and respective training to the support staff who work at our forensic services. The team helps individuals to learn about risk and enable them to understand their triggers and anxieties which can lead to risky behaviour and encourage them to learn to manage their own risk, to make more positive choices and to have a better quality of life.
We ensure the correct training programmes are in place for the teams who work in our forensic services to help individuals with their specific needs. These include offender training around suicide and self-harm and advanced mental health (dual diagnosis). We are currently in the process of producing our own sex offender awareness training and also provide our own in-house training to support people with autism.
A big part of our support is to encourage individuals to achieve greater independence. We do this by employing Active Support approaches, which helps the people we support to develop daily living skills and pursue interests and goals that are meaningful to them. This can include; building new friendships, enjoying leisure and social activities in the community that are important to them and pursuing a life-long goal or hobby.
We take a holistic approach and follow the principles of the ‘Good Lives Model’ which involves designing the bespoke and dedicated support each individual needs to help ensure things go well in their life. This aids rehabilitation and supports individuals to manage their own offending behaviours.
Managing risk and developing partnerships
Consensus has an excellent track record of working in partnership with agencies to deliver bespoke local solutions that facilitate discharges from hospital and provide a least restrictive alternative to admission.
We work closely with partners and stakeholders including Local Authorities, NHS Trusts, Transforming Care Partnerships, Clinical Commissioning Groups, the Probation Service, the Criminal Justice System and specialist support teams to deliver services that enable individuals to build meaningful lives in the community whilst managing risks.
We focus on risk assessment, positive risk taking and management working closely with commissioners who are seeking placements for people with highly complex needs as well as with the local multi-disciplinary teams to ensure risks are shared.
With expertise across our specialist services including mental health and learning disability nurses we can professionally collaborate with external multi-disciplinary teams, hospitals and offender managers. Having nurses on our team provides a degree of quality assurance and accountability that is essential when individuals present with offending risks.
We operate in legislative frameworks where we can promote ‘choice’ but within Ministry of Justice restrictions, DoLS, Guardianship and the Court of Protection.
Our services support people stepping down from secure settings or hospital environments and those who may be living in the community but require a more intensive person-centred support package to avoid the risk of admission. It is vital that once individuals are discharged from hospital we do all we can to ensure that their placements in the community doesn’t break down.
We offer registered residential and supported living services, primarily in self-contained flats with twenty-four-hour support. This can help mitigate any compatibility issues with others who live in the service and assistive technology is used to help promote greater independence.
Individuals at our forensic services express their thoughts and feelings through art and creativity…
Read Jacob’s Story
From a difficult early life, being in a prison setting and then transferring to a secure Hospital setting under the Mental Health Act where he remained for 20 years, Jacob’s journey has been long and challenging. Providing rehabilitation support we helped Jacob grow in confidence, thrive and diminish challenging behaviour so much that having commenced his time with Consensus in a residential service he is now thriving in a supported living setting with his own tenancy.
Assessment & transition
When we receive a referral for an individual with an offending history, our assessment and transition process is meticulous in its approach. We take time to understand the individual, their background, offending behaviour and its function. We gather information from a wide variety of sources. We involve our Forensic Strategic Lead, our Positive Behaviour Intervention Team and have RNLD, RMN and RGNs in post across the services who can work closely with local multi-disciplinary teams to understand and share potential risk. The focus of the assessment is to fully understand early on the person’s complex and unique needs and them as a person and how best we can meet their needs to give them the best outcomes. This enables us to also ensure compatibility with others already living in a service. Transition into a placement is very carefully managed, the Manager of the service and a dedicated key worker will be involved right from the assessment stage to ensure it all runs smoothly.
We have a great deal of expertise in delivering forensic services, having pioneered the first forensic model over 10 years ago. We engage in partnership with clinicians and stakeholders, sharing our expertise in this area and working collaboratively to provide the very best practise and care for the people we support.
Forensic Strategic Lead
During my time working as a support worker I completed the Joint Nursing and Social Work program at University. I have been with Consensus since December 2011 starting my career at Consensus as a RNLD, progressing to service manager in 2015. In 2016 I progressed to Operations Manager working closely with the Regional Directors to ensure the effective running of my region and to guarantee overall good practise and outcomes at a service level and for the people we support.
Having been heavily involved with the set up, opening and on-going operational management of our existing forensic services I have in-depth knowledge and understanding of how to ensure such services are managed and operated in the right way for people with highly complex needs and risk factors. In April 2021 I became Forensic Strategic Lead for Consensus to develop our long-term strategy and provide guidance and best practise advice for our existing forensic services and new bespoke forensic services we may develop. I support the teams working within the services and the operational teams to support individuals to maximise their potential in a setting that is right for them, whilst ensuring that risk is carefully managed.
New Developments and Partnerships
If you are a Commissioner or Care Manager looking for a referral for someone with a forensic background or interested in discussing new forensic services to meet your local needs, please contact Ray Godwin for further information and guidance.