For People with Forensic Histories or Behaviours
Through our specialist forensic support services, Dimensions supports people with learning disabilities or autism who have or are likely to, come into contact with the Criminal Justice System, to change their lives. People like Henry, Reece, Farid, Keith and Marvin
No one we support has ever been recalled to prison or hospital for a repeat of their index offence.
Our work is closely aligned with the NHS Transforming Care Service model. We support people out of long-stay institutions, helping them build new lives in their local communities.
Alongside other agencies working within the Transforming Care agenda, we support people to grow in confidence, develop empathy, and thrive in their homes and local communities. In other words, to rehabilitate.
“Supporting Safe Living”
Over the past 10 years, our team have helped many people in desperately difficult circumstances to rehabilitate, using a unique relational approach, outlined below.
We work with people who are typically in high-cost NHS beds, many of whom do not have agreed plans in place to leave these beds.
When we start to work with people it might be the first time they have lived in their own home. We help them with housing, really get to know them and agree with them on how they want their lives to change. It is important we do not support people forever and we see it as a real success when someone no longer needs our support.
Our approach draws on relational risk assessment and then places personal responsibility back on the individual to develop their self-control and begin to learn to manage their own risk.
In this way, individuals regain positive choices and control over their lives. They make new and better community connections. Many build new friendships, enter employment and develop different interests. All of which provide these individuals with a reason to care about their role within the community.
If you are part of a Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangement (MAPPA) team working with someone who fits the above criteria contact us to see how we can help.
Who We Support
The Transforming Care agenda says that ‘… adults with a learning disability and/or autism who display risky behaviours, which may put themselves or others at risk and which could lead to contact with the criminal justice system, are a distinct group whose specific needs have not always been recognised.’
We are passionate about supporting people in this situation to change their lives, move out of care or hospital and build their ambition to thrive as tenants in their own homes and in their local community. Whilst all our support is planned around the individual, we make a key distinction between people whose principal support requirement arises from their learning disability, and those whose principal support need arises from their forensic history. In the former case, we are likely to design support using our Activate support model, in the latter case the focus will be on Risk-Trigger-Response.
How We Work
The people we support need intensive and very structured support at first. Relationships with us are not the same as relationships with friends, people in the community, family or work colleagues. We are always working to reduce the amount of paid support someone needs in a structured, safe and planned way, helping the person to shape their own support.
Three distinct Dimensions teams work together to deliver safe support for people with forensic behaviours:
- A Forensic team, which has a depth of professional expertise and experience in specialist assessment, planning and training.
- An Operational team, with broad expertise at supporting people within their local community.
- The final team includes family, friends, NHS, MAPPA etc. who have an interest in the person and with whom we work continuously in the best interests of the individual.
We have established an ‘Offending Behaviour Review Panel’ with an external chair. The focus of the panel is to ask questions about how we work and how we keep thinking about good practices in the work we do.
Every person we support whose needs arise principally from their forensic behaviours has a consistent team based on matching tools and, as far as possible, chosen by the people we support. In the rare event that we need to use an agency colleague, that individual will have received a full and rigorous training programme in advance, including meeting the person they’ll be supporting. No one crosses the threshold without that.
The operational team is managed by a Locality Manager, who works in partnership with a Clinical Practitioner from the Forensic team. The Locality manager and the Clinical Practitioner are in constant communication and meet, at least once per month, with the person we support to ensure that their personalised support journey is as productive as it can be.
Our colleagues do not judge. We take a personalised approach to each individual we support. We are proud of our ‘stickability’ – if times get tough, we do not give up on someone.
Our beliefs inform all aspects of our forensic approach:
- We focus on the person and work within a rights-based approach.
- We put safety as our number one priority.
- We keep a small span of control.
- We build trust from the people we support, the wider health, social and justice system, the people we employ, families and the communities we work in.
- Everyone has the chance for a fresh start. People we support have rarely had investment from a humanistic perspective and we believe everyone we support should have that chance.
- People we support have experienced discrimination and lots of labelling, they are citizens and have the same human and legal rights as anyone else.
- Some people sometimes break the law, this is not a good thing. The people we support have sometimes broken the law. They might make mistakes in the future but we would never excuse someone for breaking the law.
- We only support people who have the cognitive ability to understand our Forensic approach and who can learn the skills required to benefit from it.
- We can only be successful in supporting someone if we provide support as part of a multi-disciplinary and multi-agency team.
- We will not support someone if we do not think they have the cognitive capability or level of engagement required to benefit from the support model we offer.
Everyone referred to Dimensions with an offending history or risk undergoes a specialist forensic assessment process. Getting things right at this stage underpins the effectiveness of everything else, so assessments are comprehensive and thorough.
The assessment also involves meeting current and former support providers, family members/circles of support (if appropriate and agreed by the individual), care managers and professional partners and sometimes people from the criminal justice agencies. This helps us get a much better understanding of the person we are going to support.
We provide different types of nationally recognised, specialist assessments and recommendations.
The assessment will identify the needs and required outcomes of the individual, which will form the basis of a detailed support plan. The team will use this to ensure that the person gets the very best support.
Running parallel with the support plan is the Risk Trigger Response (RTR) plan, which informs our risk assessment process and provides each team and person we support with a comprehensive overview of risks, indicators and the responsive action that must be taken in respect of each indicator.
Within the RTR plan, the Clinical Practitioner will develop Proactive strategies (to avoid risk from occurring in the first place), Active strategies (when a risk is becoming more likely to occur) and Reactive strategies (to respond when the risk is about to, or already has, manifested).
Whilst the RTR is developed by the Clinical Practitioner it is informed by the Multi-Disciplinary Team, the Support Team, and the person we support. Clinical Team Meetings are opportunities for all of these individuals to discuss what is working and what is not and to continuously update the RTR to be more effective in managing that person’s risk.
Get in touch – contact Jason on 07789948914 to discuss your referral or contact us here.
Screening, Assessment and Costs
Following an initial screening, we will arrange a detailed, bespoke assessment at an agreed cost. We will decide together if we can support someone well, agree on a timeframe together and send you a plan and a cost.
If you, or we, do not think we are the best provider, the assessment can help you identify the right one.
There might be the potential to look at an integrated personal budget or direct payment. We expect the cost to fall over time as the person becomes more independent, leading to a complete fade out of our support over no more than seven years.
Costs must be agreed upon before we move to transition planning.
We will agree on a named person from the operational team to liaise with the referring partner and a named person from the practice development team to liaise with the place the person is currently living. We will agree on who else needs to be involved with someone when they move into their own home in the community and how the reviews will happen.
Dimensions will recruit a team of people with the involvement of the person and their circles of support. We will take time to get to know the individual. We will agree on how and who will be involved in monitoring.
Our environment is complex and requires us to respond to many stakeholder agendas. We support people who often fall between definitions or eligibility criteria but have been or are at risk of, being high-cost users of services.
Our commissioners include Local Authorities, the NHS and the Probation Service. Much of our work is jointly commissioned.
We work closely with:
- NHS England Transforming Care Partnerships
- Association of Directors of Adult Social Services
- The Local Government Association
- The Police
- Housing Associations
We are regulated by the Health and Safety Executive, the Care Quality Commission and the Charity Commission.
Regular contact is maintained with family, friends and other professionals within their circle of support, and where available we encourage independent advocates to contribute to the personalised plan.
We work through Multi-disciplinary teams and in the context of the Mental Health Act (2007), Mental Health Code of Practice (2015 Mental Capacity Act (2005), Health and Social Care Act (2012), Care Act ( 2014), Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA) (2012), Human Rights Act (2010), Equality Act (2010), and the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974), among others.
Research into Practice
Our unique forensic approach has been developed from a combination of positive behaviour support, attachment/interactive theories, cognitive approaches, teaching and learning theory and humanistic psychology.
We recognise that the people we support have impoverished (if any) relationships and also lack the relational skills to change this. We believe that their behaviours are directly linked to this absence. Most people consider their relationships to be one of the most important things in their lives which give them a powerful “reason to care” about all other aspects of their lives.
If these relationships are missing, a powerful “reason to care” is also missing. Also, if the people we support don’t have relationships, they will not understand people, interaction, other people’s intent, empathy, reciprocation or what others need from them for relationships to work. However, there are many relational aspects that can only be learned experientially.
For this reason, relational and interactive development is a strong characteristic of our model. We believe that by improving social and emotional understanding and functioning, we can also change people’s perspectives of their behaviours and the way they impact others.
Dimensions’ forensic support was formerly delivered by Waymarks, a part of the Dimensions Group and has now become part of the Dimensions Clinical Team.
As of 10th August 2020 Waymarks is no longer a separate company. The unique and specialist Waymarks approach to supporting people has been retained within Dimensions as our Forensic approach.
Through a statutory process (covered by section 110 of the Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies Act 2014), Waymarks has transferred all of its assets and liabilities to Dimensions.
Dimensions will remain registered as a non-profit organisation with the Regulator of Social Housing (RSH) and, thereby, remain subject to the RSH’s regulatory and statutory framework. Dimensions will continue to be an exempt charity.
Waymarks Limited was a Company Limited by Guarantee 6967283 and Registered Charity 1133664.