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Together’s London Liaison and Diversion service wins national award

Posted on 22, July 2015

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Together’s Liaison and Diversion service in North and North East London, which it delivers in partnership with Barnet, Enfield & Haringey Mental Health Trust (BEHMHT), East London NHS Foundation Trust (ELFT) and North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT), has been presented with the Liaison and Diversion award at the Howard League for Penal Reform’s Community Awards ceremony.

The awards celebrate projects across England and Wales that help keep people out of the criminal justice system. New for this year the liaison and diversion category was open to services that take early action to make sure that people in trouble with the law get the right help, in the right place, and at the first possible moment.

The London liaison and diversion service was selected by the judges as the first recipient of this award out of six shortlisted projects, and was recognised for its commitment to helping people tackle the underlying causes of their offending, and thus reducing the likelihood of reoffending.

Photo: Prisonimage.org

Photo: Prisonimage.org

The service was awarded for its approach which involves assessing the needs of vulnerable individuals in magistrates’ courts, crown courts and police custody settings, working closely with a wide range of partners to ensure that these individuals have access to the right health and social care services. The judges also acknowledged the additional support provided by Community Link Workers, who work alongside individuals throughout the criminal justice pathway to help them engage or re-engage with relevant services to tackle things like housing, addictions or debt, as well as their mental wellbeing.

The London site covers 13 custody suites and seven courts and it forms part of NHS England’s national Liaison and Diversion programme. Since April 2014 when the first phase of the trial began, 3,479 people have benefited from this service which ultimately has contributed to a reduction in future arrests and the use of police and court time.

Linda Bryant, Director of Criminal Justice services at Together said: “We are delighted that our Liaison and Diversion service in London has been recognised for its ongoing commitment to ensuring that people’s mental health needs are met at the earliest opportunity when they come into contact with the criminal justice system. This award is a fantastic acknowledgment of how by working in partnership we can build better outcomes for individuals.

“Specialist services are essential to ensuring that people get the care and support they need to break the cycle of offending and the Howard League for Penal Reform’s Community Awards really showcase great examples of this in action. We are encouraged by the programmes across the country and inspired by these as we expand our liaison and diversion services across London this year.”

A second wave of trial sites started in April 2015, including a second site covering Cental, West and North West London. As part of the second trial site in London, Together is working with West London Mental Health Trust and Central and North West London Mental Health NHS Trust. This will see the expansion of comprehensive Liaison and Diversion services to 50% of London working to the new, enhanced national model.

To find out more about Together’s Criminal Justice services visit: http://www.together-uk.org/our-mental-health-services/criminal-justice-mental-health/.