Capabilities For Inclusive Practice

The featured paper is ‘Capabilities for Inclusive Practice’ which is featured in the National Social Inclusions Programme (NSIP), was published in 2007 and is freely available here. In the introduction Dave Morris, Programme Director for the National Social Inclusion Programme and Roslyn Hope, Programme Director for the National Workforce Programme outline the close collaboration that has taken place between the NSIP and the National Institute for Mental Health in England (NIMHE) National Workforce Programe to develop a set of capabilities which will facilitate socially inclusive practice.

In the Executive Summary, there is a commentary on the Social Exclusion Unit Report ‘Mental Health and Social Exclusion’ (2004) which found that for people with ‘mental health problems’, there were less opportunities in such areas as employment, education and housing. The NSIP’s ‘The 10 Essential Shared Capabilities’ are described as a valid framework for socially inclusive practice and were developed in consultation with members of a number of professional bodies and can be used as a resource by many different groups.

In the introduction, the authors(s) sketch out the economic benefits of successful social inclusion and the importance of the ‘Ten Essential Shared Capabilities’ in developing workforce initiatives through the National Workforce Programme. The influence within various professional bodies is described as well as the development of New Ways of Working – for everyone which was published back in 2007.

In ‘Using This Framework’ the authors describe the audit standards set out in the document which can be used for the purposes of auditing an organisation standards for social inclusion. The results from this audit can then be used to inform training. They identify the groups who could use these audit standards.

The first capability is described as ‘Working in Partnership’ and involves the construction of working relationships with lay people and communities. There are a number of ways in which this theme is developed. Thus the standards include reference to pooling resources (from the community and the organisation), identifying discrimination against people with ‘mental health issues’ and including people with mental health problems in the training of community organisations.

The second capability is respecting diversity where it is stated that the aim is to ‘understand the impact of discrimination and prejudice on mental health and mental health services’. In developing this theme, there are many standards for the inclusive team for instance ensuring that ‘under-served groups in the community’ have access to information about mental health services as wel as a number of standards for the individual practitioner.

The third capability is practicing ethically. In this section it is stated that ‘The vision and missions statements of the mental health service show that inclusion is a core value’.

The fourth capability is challenging inequality and the standards developed here include developing services that help people to stay in their communities (which is consistent with the move to care in the community) and the choice of services by commissioners that support these goals as examples.

The fifth capability is Promoting Recovery. Recovery is a complex term* and the standards include those that address issues such as hope and opportunities in the community. Individual standards include knowledge of opportunities in the community and ‘promoting opportunities for service users to develop friendships with other citizens’. A really great buzz-phrase is used here!

‘friendship-friendly organisations’

This means an organisation that encourages service users to develop ‘friendships with other citizens’.

The sixth capability is identifying people’s needs and strengths. The standards include assessment documentation around ‘people’s life ambitions and current assets’ using projects and supporting the preferred lifestyle of the service user.

The seventh capability is providing service user centred care and the standards focus on ensuring that services ‘establish and maintain’ the person’s life in the community and standards include commissioning of services which support the development of community links.

The eighth capability is ‘Making a Difference’ and is about provision of ‘best quality evidence-based, values-based health and social care interventions’ to the service users and families. Here the standards empahise three strands to care delivery – health care, social care and social inclusion with outcomes for social inclusion being incorporated into services as an example. There are a number of standards for individual practitioners including use of a ‘thorough knowledge’ of how ‘relationships are built and maintained’.

The ninth capability is ‘Promoting safety and positive risk taking’. Here there wasn’t a circumscribed definition of ‘positive risk taking’ although the emphasis was on ’empowering the person to decide the level of risk they are prepared to take within their health and safety’. An example of the standards in this regards are that the service risk policies should be aligned with the need for social inclusion. For the individual practitioner an example of a standard is that the risk of social exclusion should be included in the risk assessment.

The tenth capability is ‘Personal development and learning’. The standards for the organisation include promotion of inclusion as a core value and ‘effective arm’s length management for staff working independently in the community’ as examples. For individual practitioners the standards include generating several explanations for occurrences in the person’s life and the ability to work in more than one community location.

This document outlines standards for social inclusion to be used in organisations for the purposes of audit. There are a large number of standards included here and it will be interesting to see the results of audits in this area and resulting evolution of services and ultimately the impact on social inclusion.

* e.g. there is a discussion of recovery in this article

Steps to Treatment = 1 (Policy document)


If you have any comments, you can leave them below or alternatively e-mail


The comments made here represent the opinions of the author and do not represent the profession or any body/organisation. The comments made here are not meant as a source of medical advice and those seeking medical advice are advised to consult with their own doctor. The author is not responsible for the contents of any external sites that are linked to in this blog.


    • Dear Finiaviaindine,

      Many thanks. What in particular did you find appealing about this post?




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s