Skills update

ReviewWhat’s the latest on professional training? Nadine Singh explains the DANOS review.

Skills for Health is undertaking a review of the National Occupational Standards (NOS) for specialist workers who work with adult substance users.

The NOS, first developed with stakeholders in 2005, are being reviewed by a working group consisting of service user organisations and stakeholders who work in substance use services. A steering group is overseeing the project, consisting of members from the four UK nation government departments and chaired by Carole Sharma, chief executive of the Federation of Drug and Alcohol Professionals (FDAP). ‘Stakeholders will welcome the review of the NOS for the substance misuse sector as it is vital that the standards reflect what workers are currently doing as part of their practice,’ she says.

 This review is to ensure that the NOS reflect up-to-date practice in the field of substance use and that workers who wish to use the NOS are working to a set of defined standards. The project working group includes members from the four UK nations, and the revised NOS will reflect common practice right across them.

 The drug and alcohol NOS, commonly known as DANOS are widely used across the health, care and justice sectors. NOS can be used for a variety of purposes, all of which lead to the development of a particular workforce. The DANOS have been used to underpin nationally accredited qualifications, such as:

•                  the level 3 diploma in health and social care and level 3 SVQ in health and social care, which assess competence against the NOS

•                  the level 3 and level 4 awards and certificates in working with substance misuse.

They are also used:

•                  to develop new roles for the sector

•                  in frameworks for staff development

•                  to improve standards of practice across the sector by organisations such as FDAP

•                  to develop a variety of bespoke training and education programmes.

The working group, chaired by John Jolly of Blenheim CDP, has been working to update the standards and they will be available for consultation until 30 September 2013. A consultation for service users will also be available and their responses will inform the final content of the updated NOS. This consultation will run until 12 September 2013. 

Once final versions of the NOS have been approved by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, they will be accessible via the Skills for Health competence tools.

For further information about both the service user and NOS consultations and the Skills for Health tools, visit the Skills for Health website or email

Skills for Health is the sector skills council for all health employers – NHS, independent and third sector – and acts as the voice for employers working in the healthcare sector.

Nadine Singh is manager of NOS, qualifications, apprenticeships, products and services at Skills for Health


We value your input. Please leave a comment, you do not need an account to do this but comments will be moderated before they are displayed...