Complex Needs Support Practitioner

Closing date: September 20th, 2021

Job Title:

Complex Needs Support Practitioner

Responsible to: Service Manager
Hours of Work: 37.5 hrs per week
Location: YMCA Together, based in Leeds Street Hostel, with outreach work
Salary and benefits:




Holiday entitlement is 25 days plus bank holidays

5% contributing pension



YMCA Together is a registered charity and company Limited by Guarantee. We were founded in 1846 and so we build on a long history of providing a place for people to find acceptance, community and activity. We provide services across the YMCA work streams of accommodation, family work, health and wellbeing and training and education.


Our accommodation offer is made up of: supported accommodation for people experiencing homelessness; intensive support for individuals with complex needs; move on accommodation for individuals closer to independence; specialist service for individuals with mental ill health, a young offenders service and our RISE Recovery Service.


The offer around family work includes: An Early Years Foundation Stage nursery in Southport; 2 x Liverpool based refuges for women and children fleeing or at risk from domestic abuse and a dispersed domestic abuse service for men and women fleeing or at risk from domestic abuse.


Our work around health and wellbeing includes a large leisure centre in Southport and targeted health interventions.


Within the training and education workstream, we deliver therapeutic horticulture, animal care and low impact sports at our Dutch Farm project based in South Liverpool.


Our Mission is to inspire and support people by:

  • promoting choice and independence
  • valuing the individual
  • maximising potential
  • instilling hope



Throughout our support services we have implemented a psychologically informed approach, this helps people to make changes in their lives by enabling support staff to assess and seek support for an individual underlying needs. This approach is underpinned by staff using Cognitive Analytical Therapy and Trauma Informed Care.


In addition, YMCA Together also offers therapeutic horticulture, care of livestock, low impact sports and activities and a range of development opportunities at Dutch Farm. This is based from a small former landfill site in Garston, South Liverpool.  In this environment our service users and service users from our partner agencies can learn how to grow food whilst also gaining work skills and enjoying activities such as archery, arts and crafts and outdoor cooking.


YMCA Together developed and managed the Mainstay Service for the City of Liverpool – It provides 24 hour assessment points to assess homeless individuals for accommodation and support services.


The YMCA is committed to setting the standards rather than meeting them, it is an equal opportunities employer, a Living Wage Employer and was recognized as the 6th best Charity in the Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For 2021, this accolade recognises world class business practice, demonstrating exceptional working practices in areas such as people management, leadership, staff involvement and empowerment, work life balance and health and well being of our staff.


YMCA Together training is accredited to deliver over 20 nationally recognised qualifications including certificates endorsed by leading industry awards organisations such as the Chartered Institute of Housing and Chartered Institute of Environmental Health. In 2014 our YMCA training successfully developed and delivered the regions first accredited qualification ‘Enablement in Housing’ for supporting homeless people.



Main Purpose of Job

To assist in the provision of effective, high quality support services to vulnerable, single homeless individuals who have complex needs such as offending behaviour, substance misuse problems, mental health issues and who are vulnerable to rough sleeping with the aim of promoting independent living.

To work closely as part of a team with the Director of Homeless Services and OLT in the development of operational planning and service delivery to the highest standards.

Hours of work

 The hostel will be staffed 24/7 and the post holder will be working a rota of early, late and late late shifts over 7 days including weekends and bank holidays.


Duties and Responsibilities

The specific areas of responsibility are set out below. These are subject to regular review in order to meet the changing needs of the organisation and the environment in which it operates.

Support Planning and risk assessing

  • Provide a high level of direct support to prepare client for independent living
  • Conduct Mainstay assessments with homeless individuals presenting at the service and referred through outreach services.
  • Creatively support and engage clients that have a wide range of complex and challenging support needs
  • Carry out new resident welcomes, inducting residents into the service including registering with doctors’ etc.
  • Ensure that residents have a full understanding of their rights and responsibilities during their stay at the YMCA or other accommodation.
  • Support residents to achieve their goals and targets as defined/ agreed within their support plans and support contracts
  • Manage, update and communicate resident risk assessments in line with YMCA Liverpool & Sefton policy and procedure
  • Ensure residents shape their own support and take part in activities
  • Work closely with Whitechapel, Outreach and Rough Sleeper services
  • Hold planned key-work sessions each week with residents using a person centred flexible approach.
  • Offer a creative but assertive approach in order to seek to re engage rather than taking the route of punitive action that may lead to disengagement and eviction, and the ability to manage specific incidents of violence or aggressive behaviour with the use of short term exclusions.
  • Assess support needs via Outcomes Star assessments, ITEP mapping and plan support around individual need. Regularly review and develop mutually agreed support plans with residents and any other professional involved in the support of those individuals e.g. Social Workers, CPNs, Probation Officers.
  • Hold 3 way meetings and coordinating the support of residents with other professionals
  • Up to date records must be kept on both support planning systems like MainStay and DAVE and in any resident’s files.
  • Conduct monthly/quarterly risk assessments of residents keeping all relevant parties informed of updates/changes.
  • Conduct regular room checks and support residents in the management of their room and relationships with others and to report any health and safety issues to the Housing Manager.
  • Participate in the planning and delivery of group work and activities e.g. Independent Living Skills. Support claims on behalf of residents for housing and other welfare benefits.
  • Provide information and advice to the people we support in accordance with their support plans.
  • Motivate and challenge the people we support so they realise their goals.
  • Assist with securing move-on to appropriate accommodation.
  • Liaise between the people we support and external agencies regarding the provision of specialised support when appropriate.
  • Encourage involvement and participation among the people we support in the running and shaping of the service provided by planning and attending regular resident meetings.
  • Deal promptly with all complaints and protection from abuse disclosures.
  • Provide clear, accurate and good quality information in respect of all residents in line with agreed procedures ensuring that appropriate information is shared with the line managers.
  • Demonstrate creativity in overcoming obstacles and a commitment to working with and providing support to vulnerable people
  • Liaise with accommodation providers and private landlords ensuring that support is tailored to what works for the specific individual
  • Inspect prospective resettlement accommodation with clients and landlords
  • Liaise with accommodation providers where appropriate to negotiate move in dates, repairs, decoration, deposits, advance rates, connection of utilities and furnishing prior to move in
  • Arrange follow up support after move on to assist client in maintaining their accommodation
  • Demonstrate creativity in overcoming obstacles and a commitment to working and providing support to vulnerable people
Health and Safety
  • Liaise with Emergency Services; Fire, Police and Medical.
  • Ensure at all times the safety of yourself and others on the premises in which you work.
  • Conduct routine Health & Safety inspections throughout the building.
  • To report incidents, in line with YMCA Together’s licence agreement, to tackle any concerns caused by residents’ behaviour or their visitors.
  • Adhere to checks, handover and incident process
  • Ensure that all communal and work areas are clean and tidy.
  • Attend to all enquiries and pass messages onto relevant people.
  • Develop excellent and robust relationships, protocols, contacts and service level agreements with referring agencies, statutory services and wider stakeholder
  • Contribute to the formulation of policy and procedures in relation to support services.
  • Attend and participate in regular team meetings and reflective practice to ensure good communication.
  • To have a flexible and positive attitude to all team members.
  • To be committed to learning both as an individual and as part of a team.
  • Undertake own administrative services and report writing.
  • Prioritise work load
  • To work to agreed individual, team and organisational objectives and to work towards YMCA Together’s performance targets.
  • Sharing information and expertise with colleagues, covering absence and working together to deliver a high quality service.
  • Uphold and develop YMCA Together’s Equal Opportunities Policy of anti-discriminatory practices across all services.
  • Observe and ensure compliance with the Service Code of Conduct including professional boundaries and confidentiality at all times.
  • Ensure adherence to YMCA ‘visitors’ procedure.
  • Dealing promptly with all complaints in line with YMCA policies and procedures.
  • Prepare for and attend supervision and appraisal sessions with your line manager, taking direction as appropriate and contributing to the development of both you and the service.

The post holder will be required to have contact with a variety of people     during the course of their work. The context of this contact will vary from formal ‘Key working’ to informal networking and relationship building with the Local Authority and other relevant agencies.

Annual appraisal and regular work review with line managers is an operational requirement, as is attendance at weekly support team meetings.

It is recognised that the association is operating in a dynamic environment and as such this job description may be varied in consultation with the post holder to reflect evolving needs of the business and changing nature of the job


Person Specification –  RSI Support Practitioner


Essential Desirable



Qualification or working experience in homelessness, mental health or offending


A recognised qualification in substance misuse or mental health.

Qualification in welfare rights.

IT qualification such as CLAIT, ECDL, ITQ.




At least 1 years experience of working within a hostel setting or similar and a working knowledge of support planning, welfare rights, benefits advice, mental health issues, offending, drug and alcohol misuse, working with partner agencies, safeguarding and resettlement.


Outcomes Star

Experience working with refugees.

Experience of co coordinating three way meetings.

Experience of outreach working

Experience of resettling individual into independent living




Working knowledge of Health & Safety

A working knowledge of resettlement and move on services.

A clear understanding and specific knowledge of complex needs support issues such as homelessness, mental health, substance misuse and offending

Knowledge of safeguarding protocols.

Knowledge of the Cognitive Analytical  Therapy (CAT) framework

Knowledge of health intervention and harm reduction




The ability to conduct comprehensive and accurate risk assessments.

To provide effective and consistent support planning with the people we support.

Excellent IT, communication, interpersonal, interviewing and assessment skills.

Excellent administration skills and the ability to accurately and concisely record information and write reports.

Plan and deliver workshops and training sessions to residents, staff and partner agencies.

Computer literate and competent in using Microsoft Word, Outlook and Windows.

Demonstrate creativity in overcoming obstacles and a commitment to working with and providing support to vulnerable people

Ability and willingness to work unsupervised.

Ability to prioritise work load and meet deadlines

Analytical and reporting skills.


Behaviour / Attributes



Highly committed to improving the lives of people with complex needs.

Committed to personal development and able to identify own personal development needs.

Friendly personality with a good sense of humour.

Ability to work within/ have a commitment to the YMCA’s ethos, philosophy and SHREK values (Strength, Humility, respect, empathy & kindness)

Energetic, dynamic and self motivated, with a reputation for being held in high regard by peers and the ability to contribute to quality team work.

Ability to self reflect and be self aware

Be able to work flexibly and confident to lone-work