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AMHP and Approved Professional Training Standards for Mental Capability Released for Consultation

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Story updated May 15, 2022

Social Work England has published proposed training standards for Registered Mental Health Professionals (AMHP) and the new Registered Mental Capacity Professional (AMCP) role for consultation.

The standards – once agreed – will be used to approve and re-approve AMHP training courses and approve AMCP training programs once they are operational. The AMCP role is being introduced as part of the Liberty Protection Safeguards (LPS), which are to replace the Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards (DoLS), potentially in 2023, although no date has been set. It will, in effect, replace the current role of Best Interests Assessor (BIA), although it has different functions.

Although AMHPs and AMCPs can come from a number of professions – social workers, nurses, occupational therapists and psychologists, in both cases, and speech therapists too, in the case of AMCPs – Social Work England is the regulator responsible for overseeing the training of the two roles.

What the proposed standards say

Both standards establish the following requirements for AMHP and AMCP course providers:

  • Admissions: ensure that candidates have “appropriate prior experience” in applying relevant legislation and policies, including on mental health, mental capacity and human rights, and an “advanced level of legal knowledge”.
  • Course management: ensure that there are sufficiently qualified and experienced teaching staff, and that they are supported to maintain their knowledge and understanding.
  • Support students: Ensure students have access to resources to support their health and well-being, including through confidential counseling services and professional counselling.

There are also several standards specific to each role, for example:

  • AMCP: ensure that the student has at least two opportunities to perform AMCP tasks under the observation of a suitably qualified professional.
  • AMHP: to ensure that practical placements are an integral part of the course, that their number, duration and scope are appropriate to achieve the learning outcomes and, through collaboration with providers, that they provide a safe environment and favorable and that they have a sufficient number of suitably trained and qualified personnel.

Both consultations will run for 12 weeks, until August 1, with AMHP standards to be agreed in the fall. Social Work England said it would publish guidance to help course providers meet the standards, which will replace existing guidance.

It will also publish guidance to help suppliers meet AMCP standards, although implementation of these depends on the government’s plans for the introduction of LPS.