woman walking with two children

Social Care

Social care teams in local services

Social care values and principles are at the heart of our vision statement and strategic priorities. Our social workers and those in the extended role of associated mental health practitioners work in close partnership with colleagues from local authorities in Liverpool, Sefton and Knowsley. The co - location of social care staff within community mental health teams and a shared management structure, ensures social care has a voice in the planning of recovery focused care. By sharing knowledge and skills across disciplines, whilst retaining a clear understanding of roles, we can offer a more holistic approach to care delivery, with social workers often taking the role of care co-ordinators.

The roles of the social care team

Enabling service users to access the statutory social care and social work services and advice to which they are entitled, discharging the legal duties and promoting the personalised social care ethos of the local authority through: 

  • undertaking assessments determine eligibility and provide services under relevant social care legislation
  • facilitating fair access to social care funding
  • facilitating personalised support planning and personal budgets for eligible people
  • safeguarding adults and children, providing practice expertise and systems leadership
  • providing Mental Capacity Act (MCA) expert practice and leadership
  • enabling access to advocacy, especially where this is a right in law (eg Independent Mental Health and Independent Mental Capacity Advocacy)
  • undertaking review and planning for those in social care funded accommodation and residential care, supporting quality assurance of residential establishments
  • promoting carers' rights and access to assessments and resources
  • providing access to other social services and resources, including local authorities' universal (non-means tested) offers and advice for self-funders
  • ensuring responsibilities across all care groups are met using social care rather than medical definitions of need.

Promoting recovery and social inclusion with individuals and families by:

  • during assessments and interventions, identifying and addressing social exclusion, its causes and effects on wellbeing and mental health (eg poor housing, poverty, racism, homophobia, social isolation, stigma, self-neglect, unemployment), including the compounded impact of multiple disadvantage and exclusion
  • working to support social inclusion and active citizenship in ways that promote self determination and reduce long-term dependency on services, e.g. enabling people to set and achieve their own inclusion and recovery goals
  • recognising and challenging mental health stigma and discrimination – within services, communities and wider society
  • being skilled and knowledgeable about multidisciplinary recovery-focused practice, emphasising hope, control and opportunity as core to the culture of the mental health system.

Intervening and showing professional leadership and skill in situations by high levels of social, family and interpersonal complexity, risk and ambiguity by: 

  • leading practice with families where there are particularly complex care or health risks and often multiple needs, including working in a ‘Think Family' way to support children and adults in families where there are parental mental health problems
  • lead practice in situations of violence and/or abuse – including complex safeguarding matters, domestic abuse, organised abuse, co-existing mental health and substance use problems
  • intervene in situations where social and environmental circumstances (eg housing, environmental services, financial matters, immigration or other legal problems) and psychosocial factors interplay and require a mature and containing holistic intervention
  • undertake specialist training to take on new, highly specialised, complex roles (eg the Responsible Clinician role, future Mental Capacity Act practice leadership roles, systemic and group interventions with families and social network, Mental Capacity Act Deprivation of Liberty Safeguards Best Interest Assessors (MCADOLS BIA)).

Please note: while managing complexity, risk and ambiguity are part of core social work at all levels of capability, the above scenarios should be allocated to social workers with appropriate levels of capability and experience. 

Working co-productively and innovatively with local communities to support community capacity, personal and family resilience, earlier intervention and active citizenship by: 

  • developing skills and knowledge to undertake community-focused practice (eg working with community organisations to open up opportunities for people with mental health problems; breaking down the barriers to universal services and community assets; helping to stimulate opportunities for informal and voluntary sector support, volunteering activity and work opportunities)
  • working with primary care services, schools and other universal and community services and points of first contact, for earlier identification of mental health problems and intervention, eg making links across adults and children's services, supporting identification in adolescents, identifying and supporting young carers and supporting earlier intervention through primary psychosocial interventions
  • working with people to co-produce innovative projects, service models and approaches. for example those which promote mental health in the community, identify unmet need or reduce stigma
  • using local authority and other local intelligence and information systems to ensure all relevant local resources can be mobilised for mental health service users and their families. 

Leading the Approved Mental Health Professional (AMHP)* workforce  

Mersey Care is a national lead in the recruitment and training of those working both within social work and outside as approved mental health professionals (AMHPs). Most will work in roles where this is all or a significant part of their work. This is not a social work specific area of practice, but social work should continue to provide the lead as the curriculum for training is based on social work knowledge, values and perspectives. AMHP is supported by: 

  • an identified AMHP strategic leadership to ensure the availability of AMHP professional and legal advice, supervision and a development programme
  • workforce management and succession planning to ensure on-going sufficiency of AMHPs and good workload management
  • forums whereby systemic issues affecting AMHP practice can be resolved, eg with partners such as the police and ambulance service
  • collation and use of AMHP intelligence and data to inform best practice and improvement locally
  • the involvement of the local authority at a senior level in local strategic, multi agency planning for mental health services.

*Approved mental health professionals were introduced by the Mental Health Act 2007 and replaced the previous role of approved social workers. They have a formal role within the mental health act and certain powers and duties placed upon them.

The power and duties of the AMHP under the Act are:


  • making assessments for admission under Sections 2, 3 and 4
  • making applications for guardianship
  • making assessments of people held under Section 136
  • applying for warrants to enter premises under Section 135.

Nearest relative

  • determining and assigning a nearest relative for Section 2 and 3
  • consulting nearest relatives when making Section 2, 3 or guardianship applications
  • applying to the County Court for the appointment of an acting nearest relative and displacement of an existing nearest relative.

Absent without leave

  • the power to take patients into custody and return them when they have gone absent without leave (AWOL)
  • the power to take and return other patients who have absconded
  • Being consulted by responsible clinicians before they make reports confirming the detention of community treatment order patients who have been absent without leave for more than 28 days.

Community treatment orders

  • confirming that community treatment orders should be made
  • approving conditions for new community treatment orders
  • approving the renewal of community treatment orders
  • approving the revocation of community treatment orders.


  • requesting an independent mental health advocate for a detained patient
  • the power to convey patients to hospital when an application for detention is completed
  • taking or authorising another person to transfer a person under section 135(1) or 136 to another place of safety
  • the right to enter and inspect premises under Section 115.

Contact us on 0151 473 0303.