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About NCSS

National CAMHS Support Service Logo

The National CAMHS Support Service (NCSS) was commissioned as a national service improvement and development programme by the Department of Health (DH) and the Department for Education (DfE) between 2003 and 2011. Its purpose was to ensure that children's psychological health and wellbeing services are effectively commissioned and provided by local services in England.

The NCSS programme supported the delivery of regional and national priorities. Its work ceased on 31 March 2011.

The programme was led by Dawn Rees who worked closely with Departmental policy teams to support a coherent response to major policy areas relating to children's psychological wellbeing.

The programme had six components:

  1. The core programme and specialist profiles delivered through CAMHS Regional Development Workers (RDWs)
  2. A national CAMHS workforce programme
  3. Targeted mental health in schools (TAMHS)
  4. Managing national CAMHS projects and evaluations
  5. Maintaining a core business and project hub which supports the programme outputs and manages NCSS branding, product development, and website information
  6. Providing a specialist link between national policy development and local services

1. The core programme

The NCSS Programme was delivered by CAMHS Regional Development Workers (RDWs) in each region. Each RDW led a specialist profile within the programme which enabled the NCSS and other partners to stay up to date with new policy and guidance and to develop specific improvement products which will help local services to improve.

The NCSS specialist programme profiles were:

  • Commissioning
  • In-patient care
  • Mental Health Act and age appropriate environments
  • Learning disability
  • Early intervention in psychosis
  • Young people’s participation
  • Peri-natal and infant mental health
  • Health promotion and prevention
  • Tackling stigma
  • Training for staff in universal and mainstream settings
  • Specialist post graduate CAMHS training
  • Health of children in care

2. National CAMHS Workforce Programme

The National CAMHS Workforce Programme delivered targeted support to local teams using tried and tested methodologies such as New Ways of Working, Creating Capable Teams and a Comprehensive CAMHS Integrated Workforce Planning Tool.

3. Targeted mental health in schools

The NCSS was commissioned to provide the regional support and challenge role to the £60m Targeted Mental Health in Schools programme funded by DfE.

4. Managing national projects and evaluations

The NCSS was commissioned to procure and deliver national projects and evaluations of improvement initiatives.

5. Maintaining a core business and project hub

This function supported the national programme outputs and manages NCSS branding, product development and website information.

6. Providing a specialist link between national policy and local development

In addition to managing the NCSS programme as a whole, this function was the responsibility of the programme manager.

NCSS legacy document

You can find a full directory of the NCSS resources - Better mental health outcomes for children and young people: a resource directory for commissioners - which are free to use at CAMHS Commissioning.

Information for parents, carers and young people

This website is primarily aimed at professionals working in the development and delivery of psychological health, emotional well-being and mental health services. We do not provide direct services to families, but support the local services that do. If you are a parent/carer or a young person seeking support or information, or if you want to know about help available in your area, please contact the YoungMinds free Parents Helpline or Childline.


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