Cheshire AMHP Partnership

About the partnership

The primary purpose of the Cheshire  AMHP Partnership is to deliver a programme of training around the Mental Health Act.

The 2 main features of the programme are:

  • The Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) training course – endorsed by the University of Chester.
  • A Continued Professional Development, maintaining competence programme of specialist training considering the interaction between complex factors and the Mental Health Act. 

Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) training course

The Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP) programme is run each year beginning in January; this is operated by the Cheshire  AMHP Partnership as a University of Chester validated programme.The course consists of 3 core modules;

  1. Critical Perspectives on Mental Health – a two week module with assessment by a 20 minute presentation
  2. Mental Health Law and Policy – a two week module with assessment by a 5000 word written assignment
  3. Legal Processes in Mental Health (Professional  AMHP Practice) – a two week module with assessment by a portfolio evidencing each of the  AMHP competencies

In addition to these taught sessions (25 days), candidates are released for:

  • 51 day (minimum) assessed practice placement in a Community Mental Health Team
  • 12.5 private study days
  • 5 days dedicated to complete the portfolio

Successful completion of the core  AMHP training will result in eligibility to be approved as an  AMHP by the candidate’s Local Social Services Authority (LSSA) and they will also gain an academic award of PG Certificate in Applied Mental Health Practice.

These 3 modules achieve a post graduate certificate in Applied Mental Health Practice at Masters level and students have the option to continue study after the year has been completed.

Candidates beginning the course in January should expect to have completed the full programme and be in a position to be approved as an  AMHP by the end of January the following year.

AMHP  training fees

The  AMHP programme is funded entirely by candidate fees which are calculated by dividing the overall cost of running the programme by the number of candidates. These are subject to change, the final cost is only known once final numbers are confirmed and this varies each year.  In general the costs are comparatively lower than other  AMHP training programmes.

Candidates can also go on to complete a further 2 modules to gain the PG Diploma or a further 3 modules plus dissertation to gain full Masters Award (optional modules include BIA). These are not included in the costs of the core  AMHP training programme and alternative funding agreements would need to be in place for continued study.

There is an option to complete a Preparation for  AMHP practice module as precursor to undertaking the  AMHP training – this is a University Of Chester stand alone module operated independently from the Cheshire  AMHP Partnership. Direct entry is via application to the University of Chester and enquiries can be sent to Mandy Schofield.

Specialist Continued Professional Development Programme

See our AMHP Specialist continued professional development programme and book onto our courses.

The partnership

The partnership is a collaborative between the University of Chester and 18 local authorities across the North West including the Isle of Man and North Wales. The partner authorities have a key role in influencing the way the programme runs with representatives meeting throughout the year to review commissioning decisions. Cheshire East Local Authority hosts the partnership on behalf of the other 16 local authorities.

Partnership members

The partner local authorities have a key role in influencing the way the programme runs and in making key commissioning decisions. The main forum through which this is done is at the Programme Management Group (PMG) meetings made up of representatives from each local authority. 

Representatives are usually senior managers in mental health as well as workforce/ learning and development managers from across the partnership. The  PMG meets throughout the year during the course of the programme year.

There is no membership fee but there is a written Cooperation Agreement which each partner signs up to. Non-partner authorities are able to send candidates onto the programme and should they want to do this on a regular basis, they would be expected to join the partnership. 

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  • Cheshire East Council (host authority)
  • Cheshire West and Chester Council 
  • Conwy County Borough Council
  • Denbighshire County Council
  • Flintshire County Council
  • Gwynedd Council
  • Halton Borough Council
  • Isle of Anglesey County Council
  • Isle of Man Government
  • Knowsley Council
  • Liverpool City Council
  • Powys County Council
  • Sefton Council
  • Shropshire Council
  • Warrington Borough Council
  • Wirral Council
  • Wrexham County Borough Council

For the AMHP training Candidates must undertake a 51 day (minimum) assessed practice placement within a Community Mental Health Team. It is recommended as 60 days for those individuals from a community team without experience in a mental health team.

Each partner authority arranges placements for their own candidates; the structure and management of the placement will be dependent on local need and the circumstances of the individual candidate. 

It is recommended candidates undertake their placement outside of their home team, and to have a reduced case load for the duration of the training.

Placement timings are negotiated with the employer and  AMHP training programme, it is preferable that candidates begin the placement sometime after the first module or immediately after the second (law) module. The placement is ideally spread over a longer period of time rather than a shorter, intensive block period, as it is more likely to provide the opportunity to experience and collect the various competency evidence required for the portfolio.

All member are have a signed agreement endorsed by the Programme Management Group that there will be 12.5 days available to candidates for private study and 5 days for completing the portfolio. 

It is unlikely these will be taken during the course of the placement and some will be taken once the taught modules and the placement are completed. It is the candidate’s responsibility to negotiate these study days with their employer to ensure they are taken as and when the work needs to be completed.

The portfolio is the assessed piece of work attached to module 3. This is a portfolio of evidence compiled by the candidate which demonstrates how they have met each of the competencies for  AMHP practice. 

It must include a minimum of 2 Observed Practices, 5 Shadow Assessments and 6 Records of Supervision. 

Guidance and advice on meeting the exact requirements is a topic covered at different times throughout the programme and portfolio workshops following the taught course.

The portfolio will be assessed by the Practice Assessor, verified by an Independent Reader, reviewed by a Review Panel and awarded a final Pass or Fail by University Academic Awards Board.

The portfolio and written assignment for module 2 can be submitted in Welsh if required.  Programme staff should be notified if candidates intend to submit their portfolio in Welsh as soon as possible.

Independent Readers are mainly appointed from partner authorities as there are specific criteria for the role, however, this is taken on in their own time and there is a fee structure in place to support this.

An information pack about the Independent Reader role is available on request.

All candidates on the  AMHP training programme must have a Practice Assessor and it is partner authorities’ responsibility to provide and allocate sufficiently trained and experienced Practice Assessors to meet the needs of their candidates on the programme. 

Practice Assessors should be experienced  AMHPs or have recent experience in the field. They should also understand the assessor role and have access to the support and resources to enable them to carry out the role. 

The main purpose is to support candidates in meeting both academic and practice requirements of the programme. Assessors are also required to act as second academic marker for candidates’ academic assignments. In some organisations the Practice Assessor is a dedicated role whilst in the majority it is undertaken in addition to their day-to-day role. 

Assessors should ideally meet the standards for Practice Development Educators (PDEs): visit skillsforcare for more information on Support for Practice Development Educators.

The Programme Coordinator is available to assessors for information, advice or guidance on any aspect of the programme. 

We run two assessor training days per year aimed at ensuring assessors are prepared for the role and understand the requirements. 

We also hold assessor support meetings every 6-8 weeks during the course of the programme (Jan-Oct), for sharing information, knowledge and skills and to ensure assessors are kept up to date with programme developments. It is expected that employers will support assessors to attend these meetings and workshops, it is a necessary component for practice assessors who have not undertaken the role previously and particularly if they do not hold a practice education award.

An information pack about the Assessor role is available on request.

Contact details

AMHP  Partnership

Programme Chair Keith Evans

Programme team

The Programme team oversees content, day-to-day organisation, delivery and administration of the programme, as well as support to candidates and assessors in all aspects of the programme. 

Page last reviewed: 05 November 2021

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