UCL Psychology and Language Sciences


Peer Support Worker Competence Framework for Mental Health: Public consultation on draft


This consultation is to seek comments and feedback on a draft of a Peer Support Worker Competence Framework for Mental Health, produced collaboratively by the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health (NCCMH), UCLPartners, Care City, PPL and Health Education England (HEE). The framework will be part of the national commitment to develop and expand peer support worker roles to support the mental health workforce, as outlined in the NHS Long Term Plan and the Health Education England report, Stepping Forward to 2020/21: The Mental Health Workforce Plan for England.

A brief overview of the competence framework

The Peer Support Worker Competence Framework for Mental Health covers peer support worker roles within mental health settings, including voluntary sector and NHS organisations. The framework focuses on the ability of peer support workers to draw directly on their lived experience of mental health difficulties (including the experience of caring for someone with mental health difficulties) and offer emotional and practical support to others going through a similar experience, in a similar setting or context, helping them build personal, social and community connections.

Lived experience and experiential knowledge underlie every aspect of the framework. The competences are set out as lists and organised by domain, describing in detail behaviourally specific skills or abilities a peer support worker is expected to have, or what they need to do to achieve competence in that area. The framework aims to capture and reflect the diversity of the peer support worker role across a number of settings by covering the progression of skills from foundational or core skills to more specialist areas of competence that require further training and development.

The competence framework will be translated into a curriculum to support the development of a training program that is currently being piloted by UCLPartners and Care City.

How this framework was developed

The NCCMH was commissioned by UCLPartners to develop a competence framework, curriculum and training package for peer support workers in mental health. The framework was co-produced with an Expert Reference Group (ERG) comprising people with experience of being a peer support worker across various roles and settings, as well as researchers and trainers.

The competence framework drew on existing literature on peer support and competence frameworks for mental health roles, and was guided by expert opinion and experiential knowledge within the ERG.

The NCCMH also worked with HEE’s New Roles in Mental Health Implementation Group for Peer Support Workers as part of the national program to develop and expand new roles to support the mental health workforce.

The consultation documents for review

There are two documents to review:

  1. Peer Support Worker Competence Framework for Mental Health: Supporting document
    - This draft document is an orientation to the framework, including the values and principles that underpin peer support, an overview of the competences, how the competence map should be used and how the framework relates to the curriculum. Please read and review this document prior to reviewing the competence framework.
    Click here to access the supporting document
  2. Peer Support Worker Competence Framework for Mental Health: Full listing of the competences (including competence map)
    This includes the detailed competences within each of the 11 domains of the competence framework, and the competence map, which is a visual representation of the framework.
    Click here to access the competence framework

The documents contain a lot of detail and content (and so we acknowledge that some people may find it difficult to review everything closely). This is because the full listing of the competences aims to capture and reflect the diversity in the peer support worker role across a number of settings, and to ensure that training and development is inclusive and standardised. An accessible summary or easy read version of the framework will be developed for the final publication.

Please consider the following questions when reviewing the documents:

  • What are your overall thoughts on the competence framework, including the language and tone?
  • Is there anything substantial missing from the competence framework or supporting background document that should be included? If so, please specify and indicate the text or content that could be included.
  • Is there any text/content you think does not belong in the framework or supporting document? If you think something should be removed, please explain why.
  • Are there any sections or topics that you think should be changed? If so, please suggest specific changes that can be made to the text or content.

How to respond

  • Please add your feedback to the comments table, including which document and section you are referring to.
  • If you are suggesting changes, please suggest specific text/content that we might include.
  • Please send your completed comments table to ucjucos@ucl.ac.uk by 5 p.m., Friday 20 March. Any feedback received after this or that is not submitted in the comments table will not be accepted.
  • If you have any queries about the consultation or feedback process, or any general queries about the project please email ucjucos@ucl.ac.uk

    Click here to access the comments table

We would like to thank you in advance for your time in reviewing and responding to the consultation.