HCPC (2013) Approval criteria for approved mental health professional (AMHP) programmes.
Department of Health (DH) regulations, Mental Health (Approval of Persons to be Approved Mental Health Professionals) (England) Regs 2008, and Mental Health (Approval of Persons to be Approved Mental Health Professionals) (Wales) Regs 2008.
The Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC) approves the programme.
Postgraduate Social Work Module Assessment Board
Sunday 1st December 2013
The overarching aim of the programme is to produce competent, independent mental health practitioners capable of complex decision-making, working with high levels of professional responsibility within an inter-professional and inter-agency context.
Specific programme aims are to:
Offer a dynamic and quality postgraduate educational experience relevant to the post-qualifying mental health practitioner, producing Approved Mental Health Professionals (AMHP) who will be fit for practice, fit for purpose and fit for award.
Facilitate postgraduates to develop critical, analytical and reflective approaches to mental health practice and its underpinning theoretical frameworks.
Enable postgraduates to develop systematic knowledge and enhanced levels of competence in mental health practice and the role of the AMHP, and to gain comprehensive higher level knowledge, expertise and the individual qualities necessary to work as autonomous, competent practitioners within unpredictable professional environments.
Develop originality and sound judgement in leadership and facilitation skills, which will enable postgraduates to implement best practice in service delivery.
Develop postgraduates' ability to critically assess and creatively meet the mental health and social care needs of service users, using an anti-oppressive practice perspective and applying professional codes of ethics and practice.
Develop postgraduates' ability to work collaboratively and imaginatively with service users, carers, health and social care workers, social workers, other health professionals and workers in other agencies.
Enable students to support, mentor, supervise or manage others, enabling them to identify and explore issues and improve their own practice.
Ensure that postgraduates are able to critically evaluate and respond to the constantly changing context within which mental health policies are being implemented, employing different approaches and offering original interpretations where appropriate.
Create research minded postgraduate practitioners who are knowledgeable about the current research context of their practice, and are able to critically examine that knowledge, apply it where appropriate and review its effectiveness.
Students will be able to critically analyse mental health legislation and guidance, and apply it to a range of different situations in which people experience mental health difficulties within the context of research evidence, including knowledge and understanding of:
Medical and social approaches to mental health,and the importance of collaboration and participation to their practice (SW7017).
Key concepts, principles, theories and policies in mental health specialist practice (SW7016, SW7017).
Uniqueness of their own specialist practice and the diversity of other roles of specialist practice, and how this can be utilised to empower individuals, groups and communities.(SW7018)
Evidence-based approach to the ongoing development of their role and the dissemination of information.(SW7018, NM7069, NM7059).
Application of the research process and relevance to their own scholarship.(NM7079, NM7069, NM7059).
Professional, legal and ethical issues.(SW7016, SW7018, SW7031, SW7030).
Students will be able to use cognitive skills to identify the relevant elements of a complex social situation. Students will be able to assess the way in which these elements interact and impact on a person's mental health. Students will be able to make interventions which meet people's mental health needs.
Students will be reflexive as well as reflective practitioners including the ability to:
Demonstrate self-direction, independence of thought, and the ability to think logically and critically.(SW7031, SW7018).
Access, analyse and process information applicable to their own research or advanced scholarship.(NM7069, NM7059).
Work autonomously when exercising assessment and diagnostic skills to formulate effective interventions.(SW7020, SW7031, SW7018).
Utilise higher level analytical skills when evaluating professional work from both the practitioner and service user/carer perspectives.(SW7018, SW7020).
Demonstrate independent learning ability when working as a reflexive and autonomous specialist practitioner.(SW7018, SW7020, SW7031).
Demonstrate originality when exercising innovative and creative thinking strategies.(SW7018, SW7020).
Students will be able to:
Achieve the specific competencies for specialist AMHP practice as prescribed by the Department of Health (DH) regulations, Mental Health (Approval of Persons to be Approved Mental Health Professionals) (England) Regs 2008, and Mental Health (Approval of Persons to be Approved Mental Health Professionals)(Wales) Regs 2008.
Exercise innovation and personal responsibility when comprehensively applying a range of relevant assessment, intervention and evaluation strategies in the specialist practitioner role.(SW7018, SW7020, SW7031).
Communicate effectively with individuals, groups and communities. (SW7018, SW7020, SW7031, NM7205)
Demonstrate innovation in the application of evidence-based practice.(SW7018, SW7020, NM7059).
Demonstrate leadership within collaborative, inter-disciplinary working practices and partnerships.(SW7018, SW7031).
Students will be able to assess complex social situations and apply interventions which enable people to meet their mental health needs (SW7018).
Transferable Professional Skills:
Students will be able to use the key skills which they have developed to become a more confident practitioner in any field of social work practice. In particular they will be able to support other mental health practitioners and:
Demonstrate self-direction in both formal and informal learning environments.(SW7018, SW7020).
Communicate effectively at both individual and organisational levels.(SW7018, SW7031).
Work autonomously and collaboratively. (SW7018).
Improving own learning and performance:
Students will be able to reflect on their professional practice, deploy and evaluate a range of professional intervention and learning strategies in individual cases, and transfer learning from one social situation to another.(SW7018, SW7020, SW7031).
Students will be able to communicate with service users and carers at a level commensurate with an experienced professional worker, and in a way which demonstrates their ability to share information about a person's mental health difficulties and make judgements about actions which might be taken which would contribute towards improved mental health. Students will be able to creatively empower service users and carers to become actively involved in meeting their own mental health needs (SW7017, SW7018, SW7031, SW7020).
Information literacy and technology:
Students will be competent in accessing information from a wide range of sources to fulfil the role of a mental health professional, and ensure that they are cognisant of current developments. Students will be able to use technology to contribute to this process and be able to use computer systems which are provided by their employer.(SW7018, NM7069, NM7059, NM7079).
Working with others:
Students will be able to work as a member of a team, and develop analytical and practice skills in inter-professional working.(SW7018, SW7031).
The underlying philosophy of the programme is to promote and enable a critically reflective and responsive teaching and learning Masters level experience. The programme structure and content shows a strong commitment to the integration of theory and practice underpinned by a strong value base. The programme will build on the students' graduate and professional experience by immersing students in the multi-faceted and rapidly changing face of mental health practice.
Embedded in the programme is the imperative of working in partnership with the service user, placing the service user at the centre of health and social care provision whilst at the same time managing the complexities and tensions of inter-professional working. In line with HCPC (2013) requirements, the programme will equip students to play a key role in the care and protection of people with mental disorders, and to undertake the specific duties of an Approved Mental Health Professional as set out in the Department of Health (DH) regulations, Mental Health (Approval of Persons to be Approved Mental Health Professionals) (England) Regs 2008, and Mental Health (Approval of Persons to be Approved Mental Health Professionals) (Wales) Regs 2008.
This is a part time postgraduate Masters degree with exit routes for a postgraduate diploma and a postgraduate certificate. All modules are rated at 20 credits at level 7 (with the exception of the Dissertation module which is 60 credits), and to be awarded the Masters degree the student must successfully complete the appropriate 180 credits. Modules are designed and delivered in accordance with FHEQ, using their stated credit level descriptors as a reference point. Students will normally complete the modules in the order set out below.
SW7030 Preparation for Approved Mental Health Practice - 1 x 20 credit module (optional). The aim of the module is to equip qualified and experienced practitioners with the necessary mental health knowledge and skills to enable them to undertake AMHP training.
Specialist AMHP modules (AMHP Training) - SW7017, SW7016, SW7018 (3 x 20 credit core modules). The content of the modules includes models of mental disorder, the social perspective on mental health, mental health law and policy, ongoing legal processes and values in mental health.
An integral part of the AMHP training programme is the compulsory completion of a Practice placement. Each student will undertake a practice placement (minimum of 51 days) within their own employing authority. The objectives of the practice placement are as follows:
To consolidate theoretical knowledge by relating this to practice and current experience.
To provide students with a range of opportunities to practice alongside other professionals, both within and outside their own agency.
To ensure students have experienced work with people experiencing a range of mental disorders in a variety of settings.
To provide students with the opportunity to practice newly gained skills under the direct supervision of, and with the support of, an experienced Approved Mental Health Professional.
Students are required to present a portfolio of evidence which demonstrates their competence against each of the required learning outcomes. The placement enables the student to achieve this through direct practice. The portfolio forms the assessment for the module, SW7018.
To complete the Postgraduate diploma in Applied Mental Health Practice students must complete a further 2 (if SW7030 has been completed) or 3 optional modules from the list below:
SW7019 Diversity in Mental Health - 1 x 20 credit module.
SW7020 Learning and Assessment in Practice - 1 x 20 credit module. The module will enable practitioners to facilitate and assess learning in practice through mentoring, supporting, teaching and assessing and will equip social workers to practice as a Stage 2 Practice Educator.
SW7031 Best Interests Assessor Training - 1 x 20 credit module. The module is targeted at practitioners who wish to undertake the role of Best Interests Assessor as outlined in The Mental Capacity (Deprivation of Liberty: Standard Authorisations, Assessments and Ordinary Residence) Regulations 2008.
NM7079 Work Related Professional Skills - 1 x 20 credit module. The module provides maximum potential for study in a specialised area, whilst providing a rigorous and structured framework for learning. It gives the student the opportunity to apply and develop subject specific skills and knowledge required for their individual progress.
NM7205 Cognitive Behavioural Interventions (CBT)- 1 x 20 credit module. The module is designed to provide practitioners, working within mental health, with an opportunity to acquire skills in the use of CBT that will help them in their practice.
NM7069 Research module - 1 x 20 credit module. The module will introduce students to research methods and is a prequisite module for the NM7059 Dissertation module.
To complete the Masters degree NM7059 Dissertation module (60 credits) must be completed. module. Candidates will undertake research in the professional arena of Mental Health.
Students who have successfully completed the three core AMHP modules (SW7016, SW7017, SW7018)will receive a written transcript to this effect, and will be eligible to be considered by local authorities for AMHP approval.
PG Certificate Applied Mental Health Practice - 60 credits comprising SW7016, SW7017, SW7018. Students achieving 60 credits with any other combination of credits will be awarded a PG Certificate in Mental Health Studies and will not be eligible to be approved as an AMHP.
PG Dip Applied Mental Health Practice - 120 credits, of which 60 credits must include SW7016, SW7017, SW7018. This completes the programme of studies and the final award of PG Diploma in Applied Mental Health Practice. Students achieving 120 credits with any other combination of credits will be awarded a PG Diploma in Mental Health Studies and will not be eligible to be approved as an AMHP.
MA Applied Mental Health Practice - 180 credits, of which 140 credits must include SW7016, SW7017, SW7018, NM7069 and NM7059. This completes the programme of studies and the final award of Masters degree. Students achieving 180 credits with any other combination of credits will be awarded a Masters degree in mental health studies and will not be eligible to be approved as an AMHP.
Students who have successfully completed the three core Approved Mental Health Professional Modules (AMHP) (SW7016, SW7017, SW7018) will be eligible to be considered by local authorities for AMHP approval.
Applicants must hold a recognised professional qualification in social work, nursing, occupational therapy or psychology and be either:
(a) a social worker registered with the Health and Care Professions Council; (b) a first level nurse, registered in Sub-Part 1 of the Nurses' Part of the Register maintained under article 5 of the Nursing and Midwifery Order 2001, with the inclusion of an entry indicating their field of practice is mental health or learning disabilities nursing; (c) an occupational therapist registered in Part 6 of the Register maintained under article 5 of the Health Professions Order 2001; (d) or either a psychologist registered in Part 14 of the register maintained by the Health and Care Professions Council; or a chartered psychologist who is listed in the British Psychological Society's Register of Chartered Psychologists and who holds a relevant practising certificate issued by the Society.
Students will normally have two years' post-registration experience and be nominated by their employer to meet the standard of the AMHP requirements which is at level 7 study. Independent practitioners who are able to access suitable practice opportunities will be considered. Students will complete a detailed written application in which they will provide evidence of their professional competence, capacity and ability to undertake and complete an AMHP training programme. Students will normally hold an honours degree with a minimum of a lower second class honours.
Non-graduates will be encouraged to complete the module SW7030 Preparation for Approved Mental Health Practice prior to the start of the course.
Applicants will be able to obtain accreditation of prior experiential and/or certificated learning and to submit claims for credit exemption for assessment against learning outcomes specified for the programme modules and at the appropriate level.
Credit may normally be granted for up to 66% of the credits required for the award. The candidate will be entitled to a maximum of 120 credits for previous certificated education and training (APL) or non-certificated learning (APEL) which may be used as an alternative means of providing evidence against one or more modules. Candidates wishing to pursue a claim for accreditation of prior certificated/experiential learning must discuss the matter with the University Programme Leader prior to the start of the course.
This section is completed in narrative form and uses the specific competence requirements for Approved Mental Health Professional Training as outlined in Department of Health (DH) regulations, Mental Health (Approval of Persons to be Approved Mental Health Professionals) (England) Regs 2008, and Mental Health (Approval of Persons to be Approved Mental Health Professionals) (Wales) Regs 2008 as the basis for the statement.
Key Competence Area 1/Unit 1: Application of the values to the AMHP role. This requirement will be met by students exploring the ways in which service users and carers can be enabled to participate in assessments, planning and interventions. Evidencing professional values will be a criterion for all assignment work, including the practice portfolio. Students will gain an understanding of HCPC Standards of conduct, performance and ethics and/or NMC professional code of ethics. In the modules SW7016 Mental Health Law and Policy and in the practice placement students will demonstrate their ability to identify, challenge and, where possible, redress discrimination in relation to AMHP practice. The module SW7017 Critical Perspectives on Mental Health will consider the promotion of rights, dignity and self-determination of individuals in its examination of the Recovery Model of mental health.
Key Competence Area 2/Unit 2: Application of knowledge - the legal and policy framework. Application of knowledge of mental health and other relevant legislation and policy will be explored in the modules SW7016 Mental Health Law and Policy and SW7018 Legal Processes in Mental Health Practice. The practice placement will also give students the opportunity to develop their knowledge and apply the legal and policy framework to their practice. Racially and culturally sensitive practice will be considered in SW7017 Critical Perspectives on Mental Health and as will the particular needs of children and young people, and their families. A critical evaluation of a range of research relevant to evidence-based practice and the AMHP role will be a consistent theme throughout all modules and assignments.
Key Competence Area 3/Unit 3: Application of knowledge - mental distress. The programme as a whole provides learning opportunities which enable students to examine broad aspects of mental ill health. In this way, the programme ensures that students learn about the importance of an holistic approach to meeting the responsibilities of the Approved Mental Health Professional role which will provide the knowledge base. In particular, the module SW7017 Critical Perspectives on Mental Health provides a critical and applied understanding of a range of models of mental distress, and of the implications of a range of relevant treatments and interventions.
Key Competence Area 4/Unit 4: Application of skills - working in partnership. The practice placement will provide a range of learning opportunities for students to develop and demonstrate their ability to work in partnership with service users, their families, professionals and other workers. The modules SW7017 Critical Perspectives on Mental Health, and SW7018 Legal Processes in Mental Health Practice consider the ability to communicate appropriately, and to establish effective relationships, with both people who use services and their carers. SW7017 Critical Perspectives on Mental Health considers effective inter-agency and inter-professional working, assessment, and the conflict between the inherent power of the AMHP and the objectives of empowerment. The programme as a whole ensures that students develop an understanding of inter-professional working and the importance of the service user and carer perspectives.
Key Competence Area 5/Unit 5: Application of skills - making and communicating informed decisions. AMHPs are required to make decisions about the care needs of people with mental health difficulties in a situation where an immediate assessment is required, often where there is limited immediate information, where there may be a conflict of interest between a person and those caring for them, and where there is a different perspective. To enable students to meet these responsibilities, they will be encouraged to draw on their previous professional training and experience. In the classroom they will be required to examine case studies and carry out role plays. The range of different assignments, including an observation of their practice, will require students to evidence the application of their knowledge, skills and values to complex social situations. The practice placement will provide a range of learning opportunities for students to demonstrate their competence in this area.
The specialist AMHP modules are delivered by the Cheshire AMHP Partnership. Nationally recognised mental health speakers, specialist mental health practitioners, mental health academics, and service users and carers contribute to the teaching on the programme. Students will experience a variety of teaching and learning methods designed to facilitate the achievement of all learning outcomes at level 7 within a student-centred approach, and to foster personal and professional development.
Knowledge, understanding and intellectual skills are gained through small group work, discussion, interactive lectures, seminar presentations, case discussions, tutorials, problem-based learning, experiential learning activities, videos, work-related activities, peer learning and self-directed learning. Learning and teaching will take place in a way which provides candidates with an opportunity to discuss material which is formally presented in small seminar groups.
Students will be offered opportunities to critically reflect on complex professional scenarios. They will consider creative approaches to professional practice. Research evidence will underpin teaching material and learning opportunities. Candidates will engage in role play interview practice. Teaching and learning opportunities will be delivered by university lecturers, training officers, experienced practitioners and scholars, service users and carers.
In summary, methods of learning and teaching will include:
Seminars, presentations and debate
Scenario-based learning sessions
Interview role play
Private study sessions
The AMHP training includes a practice placement experience which will form the basis of a comprehensive portfolio. The Practice Assessor for the placement will be an experienced Approved Mental Health Professional who will develop the student's skills and competencies throughout the practice placement.
After each AMHP module, there will be a formative assessment session: the student and practice assessor will explore the student's learning from the teaching sessions, and reflect on how this can be applied in practice. Students will also participate in monthly supervision sessions with their practice assessor. ICT will be used in the delivery of most aspects of the programme, providing a framework for the provision of the course materials.
The University's Learning Support Services department provides group sessions within the programme on academic writing skills and presentations skills. Students who experience difficulty in meeting the requirements of level 7 study will also be able and encouraged to attend Learning and Support Services sessions on an individual basis.
The programme will provide a full and detailed induction process, including support mechanisms, library services, and an introduction for students to the differences between undergraduate and postgraduate study.
In line with University of Chester regulations (Validation, revalidation and modification of academic provision: Appendix B), the assessment weighting for postgraduates is adjusted to take account of practical work and the assessment of occupational standards to ensure the appropriateness of assessment overall and to avoid over-assessment.
Knowledge and understanding are tested through written assignments, seminar presentations, individual case study, direct observation, learning profile, practice assessment and reflective accounts. Intellectual skills are assessed normally through course work, and learners are asked to demonstrate thinking and cognitive ability through a range of assessments such as written assignments, seminar presentations, individual case study, learning profile, practice assessment, and reflective accounts.
The practice element of the course will be assessed by the practice placement portfolio, reflective accounts, and direct observation by assessor colleagues and peers. All aspects of the assessment strategy will be used to evaluate transferable/key skills and, where relevant, mapped against national standards.
Assessment methods for each module are:
SW7017 Critical Perspectives on Mental Health: 1. An oral presentation which critically evaluates models of mental disorder as applied to a case from practice (30 minutes). Assessed by university tutor, mental health practitioner and service user/carer.
SW7016 Mental Health Law and Policy: A critical evaluation of mental health legislation as it applies to a hypothetical case study (5000 words). Assessed by module leader and Practice Assessor
SW7018 Legal Processes in Mental Health Practice - Practice Portfolio, which includes:
Learning contract 5 AMHP shadow assessment reports/reflective commentaries Evidence log of practice competences 6 supervision records List of all AMHP assessments attended/observed Academic assignments Review and Final Training Team Report Practice Assessor's Report and Supervisor Report Record of attendance Supporting evidence (e.g. Mental Health Review Tribunal Reports, risk management plans etc.).
The portfolio is assessed by the student's Practice Assessor (for further details see Course Information Book for AMHP training).
SW7020 Learning and Assessment in Practice: Students will produce a portfolio which consists of a) two direct observations by a qualified practitioner or tutor, of a supervision session in which a social work student's competence is assessed (PASS/FAIL), b) Two critical reflections of the student's direct observations (2 x 1000 words), and c) a practice learning document demonstrating achievement of appropriate Practice Educator Professional Standards (PASS/FAIL).
SW7030 Preparation for AMHP Practice - 5000 word essay.
SW7031 Best Interests Assessor Training - 4000 word essay/completion of assessment document (1000 words equivalent)/observation of 2 DoLS assessments
NM7079 Work related professional skills - 5000 word essay (or equivalent)
NM7205 Cognitive Behavioural Interventions
NM7069 Research: A 5000 word research proposal.
NM7059 Dissertation: Dissertation (15,000 words).
Postgraduates will be able to critically analyse mental health law and policy, and be capable of fulfilling the role of an Approved Mental Health Professional. They will use independent critical judgement to systematically develop their own practice and that of others in the context of professional codes of practice and ethics.
Postgraduates will be able to work autonomously, making independent judgements about people's mental health needs. They will have a critical understanding of inter-professional working within mental health practice. Postgraduates from this programme will be enablers of others in the professional setting.
Postgraduates will be research-minded practitioners who are knowledgeable about the research context of their practice, are able to critically examine that knowledge, apply it where appropriate and review its effectiveness. They will be practitioners who are able to deploy knowledge of research methods to examine professional practice in its broadest sense, and to achieve change within the professional setting.
The programme offers students the opportunity to achieve the characteristics of a postgraduate, and it is assessment criteria based upon QAA and University documents which define these characteristics more broadly:
Demonstrate critical reasoning with regard to complex issues, which shows an ability to explore and develop alternative solutions.
Critical evaluation of key concepts of knowledge.
Extensive systematic reading and demonstration of insight and originality.
Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of relevant knowledge and applicable techniques which are at the forefront of professional practice.
Demonstrate synthesis and be able to deal with complex issues in an original manner.
Demonstrate a systematic understanding and critical awareness of current and/or new insights, much of which is at, or informed by, the forefront of professional knowledge and practice.
Ability to deploy accurately, creatively and imaginatively established techniques of analysis and enquiry.
Ability to critically evaluate current research, methodology and scholarship and, where appropriate, propose new hypotheses.
The University is committed to the promotion of diversity, equality and inclusion in all its forms; through different ideas and perspectives, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. We are, in particular, committed to widening access to higher education. Within an ethically aware and professional environment, we acknowledge our responsibilities to promote freedom of enquiry and scholarly expression.
A wide variety of teaching and assessment methods are employed to ensure that students from different groups with different learning styles are not unduly disadvantaged within the broad academic and professional structures.
All students undertaking the programme will receive support and guidance through a number of service and support mechanisms within both the Faculty and the wider University:
Academic support and assessment guidance from the module leader.
Support throughout the AMHP training from the Cheshire AMHP partnership Co-ordinator and Administrator.
Support throughout the AMHP training from the student's Practice Assessor.
Support throughout from the programme leader.
The programme works directly with service user/carer organisations which provides access for students to the real experiences of service users and carers. Service users and carers have been involved in the creation of the programme specification and the programme, and in the delivery of teaching. There has been a high level of service user and carer input into the design, delivery and evaluation of the programme. Each module of the AMHP training programme involves service user/carer teaching and facilitation sessions. We have also introduced service users and carers into the assessment of SW7017 Critical Perspectives on Mental Health.
The AMHP training modules are delivered in collaboration with the Cheshire AMHP Partnership. The AMHP Programme Co-ordinator for the Cheshire AMHP Partnership has responsibility for the administration and delivery of the specialist AMHP modules. The modules are taught by personnel appointed by the Co-ordinator.
The Partnership is also responsible for the provision of training and support sessions for the Practice Assessors. The Cheshire AMHP Partnership currently offers a two day training workshop for practice assessors. There are also six weekly follow-up assessor meetings throughout the course of the programme which offer further guidance and peer support. It is a requirement of the Practice Assessor to attend these sessions.
The University provides teaching sessions on academic marking. Many of the assessors are already accredited Practice Teachers and/or Approved Tutors with the University. Practice Assessors without formal training can access the Practice Learning modules on offer by the University of Chester. It should be noted that the modules taken as part of the AMHP training programme must be completed within two years.
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