AJ2 Enable individuals to change their offending behaviour


This standard is about working with substance misusers, including alcohol misusers, to change their offending behaviour. It includes planning how to undertake the work, and identifying the overall aim of working with individuals and the specific purpose of each intervention. A variety of methods and approaches may be used. The worker has to record what has been achieved, evaluate the interventions and work out how the process can be improved.

Users of this standard will need to ensure that practice reflects up to date information and policies.

Version No 1

Knowledge and Understanding

You will need to know and understand:

  1. the range of different substances, and their implications for the provision of services
  2. the range of behaviours that can be expected from substance users, and how to deal with these
  3. the range of substance misuse services
  4. the risks substance misuse may pose to individuals, and how to minimise these risks
  5. the risks substance users may pose to others, how to assess and minimise these risks
  6. the techniques to prevent relapse of substance misuse
  7. methods of evaluating their own competence, determining when further support and expertise are needed and the measures taken to improve own competence in this area of work
  8. the cycle of change and how to integrate it into work with offenders
  9. how offending behaviour can have bearing on treatment outcomes
  10. the range of treatments in relation to offending behaviour
  11. the impact of crime on victims and their need for protection, respect, recognition and information
  12. the ways in which the physical, social, psychological and emotional development and functioning of substance misusers affects their behaviour and its associated patterns
  13. the ways in which they have managed situations where the options which the individual chooses have run counter to the worker’s own beliefs and preferences
  14. relevant research into the relationship between known factors which influence offending behaviour and evidence of effective practice in tackling these factors
  15. the ways in which stereotyping and discrimination might affect risk assessment and how to guard against this
  16. issues involved in risk identification and prediction including the use of different predictive methods
  17. possible methods available for enabling substance misusers to change their offending behaviour (such as motivational interviewing, cognitive behavioural methods, adult learning methods, solution-focused therapy), what may affect availability and suitability of the different options and evidence of their effectiveness
  18. the ways in which individual’s culture and gender might influence the choice of methods selected
  19. how they have applied the principles of equality, diversity and anti-discriminatory practice to their work
  20. the specific legislation (national and European) which relates to this work (such as Crime & Disorder Act, Drug Treatment and Testing Order legislation etc) and how they have taken this into account in their work
  21. any particular factors relating to the agency’s policies and practices which have affected the work undertaken

Performance Criteria

You must be able to do the following:

  1. develop and refine hypotheses about the individual’s offending behaviour, and how it can best be addressed, which:
    1. are consistent with what is known about the individual’s attitudes and beliefs, their motivation to change and factors which might affect change
    2. are consistent with their personal circumstances and the context of their behaviour
    3. can be justified against current theory and research
    4. are valid given the information available
    5. are free from discrimination and oppression
  2. identify what the intervention aims to achieve and how it relates to any other work being undertaken with the individual
  3. identify the approaches which will be used in working with the individual which are consistent with:
    1. hypotheses about their behaviour
    2. the individual’s gender, race and personal beliefs and preferences
    3. the individual’s learning style and educational achievements
    4. identified risk
    5. evidence of effective practice
  4. provide information to individuals as to how the interventions will be evaluated and reviewed and their role within this process
  5. identify the information which may be made available to others as a result of the interventions, any constraints on confidentiality and inform the individual of this
  6. seek advice and support promptly when team discussion and supervision are appropriate
  7. complete records accurately and clearly and store them according to agency requirements.
  8. encourage individuals to:
    1. recognise the consequences of their offending behaviour and the significance which different people attach to it
    2. recognise the advantages of changing their offending behaviour and the positive alternatives available to them
    3. recognise their strengths and ability to change
    4. value themselves positively
  9. communicate with individuals throughout the process in a manner which:
    1. is appropriate to them
    2. encourages an open exchange of views and information
    3. minimises any constraints to communication
    4. is free from discrimination and oppression
  10. explore:
    1. the individual’s motivation for changing their offending behaviour
    2. obstacles to the individual changing their offending behaviour
    3. how the obstacles can be addressed constructively with individuals and others
  11. identify with individuals a range of strategies for changing their offending behaviour, which are consistent with:
    1. their personal circumstances
    2. the context of their behaviour
    3. their motivation for change
    4. the risks associated with their behaviour
    5. evidence of effective practice in helping people desist from offending
  12. assist individuals to:
    1. identify viable short and long term goals for changing their offending behaviour and managing the risks associated with it
    2. draw up a realistic and achievable plan for implementing the strategies
  13. agree with individuals how they will put into action, the roles of different people in the plan and how progress will be reviewed
  14. challenge constructively attitudes and behaviour which are aggressive, abusive or discriminatory while taking account of personal safety.
  15. encourage individuals to be clear about the choices which they have made and the reasons for their chosen course of action
  16. explore with individuals the implications of their choices in a manner which encourages them to understand the impact on their daily life and any difficulties which might arise
  17. explore with individuals:
    1. the methods available for sustaining their behaviour change
    2. the successes they have had previously in overcoming obstacles to change
    3. known triggers to their offending behaviour and how these can be avoided
  18. clarify with individuals the support mechanisms which are available and how they can use them to sustain their behaviour change
  19. make appropriate arrangements for supporting individuals which are consistent with:
    1. the assessment of their offending behaviour
    2. the agreed plan for change
    3. any overall plan relating to their behaviour
    4. the resources available for their support
  20. encourage individuals to seek further support from the worker and from other people when they are in need of it
  21. equip individuals with the skills/network to support their behaviour change so avoiding reliance on the worker
  22. give immediate, focused and constructive feedback to individuals on positive change in their attitudes and behaviour.
  23. record the process and outcomes of interventions accurately and completely and store them in a safe place
  24. evaluate how the outcomes of their work with individuals are consistent with research and evidence of effective practice and consequently the extent to which their practice should be modified
  25. review at timely intervals individuals’ progress in changing their offending behaviour and encourage them to understand and value their achievements
  26. seek the views of others who are working with individuals as to how interventions could be improved
  27. identify any changes which need to be made in their work with individuals and the support they receive
  28. decide in conjunction with individual any changes which need to be made in their work with individuals and the support they receive
  29. reflect on their own learning and development from working with individuals and use this to inform future programmes of behaviour change

Additional Information

This standard appears in the Community Justice Standards as Unit D302 Enable individuals to change their offending behaviour. It has been tailored slightly to be consistent with other substance misuse standards.

This standard links with the following dimension within the NHS Knowledge and Skills Framework (October 2004):

Dimension: HWB4 Enablement to address health and wellbeing needs
AJ2 Enable individuals to change their offending behaviour
Final version approved June 2010 © copyright Skills For Health
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