New Liaison and Diversion service supports those with mental health and learning disabilities

Three health and social care agencies have joined forces to provide liaison and diversion services across the region, which supports those going through the criminal justice system who require mental health or learning disability support.

Existing providers mental health and learning disability Trust, Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust (TEWV), alongside new partners, Humankind and Spectrum Community Health CIC, were successful in their bid to provide liaison and diversion services across County Durham and Darlington, Teesside, as well as being awarded a new contract in North Yorkshire.

The all age liaison and diversion services, offer assessment, advice and support for people who have come into contact with the criminal justice system and are experiencing mental health problems or have a learning disability. They also support staff within the criminal justice system with advice and signposting.

The services are commissioned by NHS England and aim to improve health outcomes of individuals going through the criminal justice system, by identifying vulnerabilities early and ensuring the right support is put in place for people. Through appropriate support measures being put in place or people being directed to alternative appropriate services, the new liaison and diversion service also aims to reduce re-offending.

Lisa Taylor, Director of Operations for forensic services in TEWV said: “We are delighted to have not only retained existing liaison and diversion services in County Durham and Darlington and Teesside, but to have also been awarded the contract for North Yorkshire services too. We are looking forward to the opportunity to work with our new partners Humankind and Spectrum Community Health CIC to use our experience to enhance mental health and learning disability care within the local criminal justice system.”

Dr Linda Harris, Chief Executive at Spectrum, said, “We are delighted to be part of this partnership to take forward liaison and diversion services across a northern footprint. We have a track record of delivering excellent services together and are poised to develop a model that successfully navigates people with serious mental health and wellbeing issues, to generate improved patient outcomes and a strengthened means of tackling the root causes of offending.”

Ted Haughey, Executive Director of Operations North East and North Yorkshire at Humankind, added “Liaison and diversion is a critical service working with some very vulnerable people who have multiple and complex needs.

“I’m sure that our new partnership will build on the excellent work and experience of TEWV in this area and improve the outcomes for both those accessing the service and commissioners.”