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BACKGROUND:   Process issues in relation to the introduction of standardised needs assessments have traditionally received little attention. METHOD:   Descriptive approach to the theoretical and practical aspects of the development of an assessment process using a structured instrument, the clinical version of the Salford Needs Assessment Schedule for Adolescents (SNASA). The context for this was child and adolescent mental health liaison with a social services secure unit for adolescent boys. RESULTS:   The use of a structured process model facilitated the implementation process enormously. Positive outcomes were experienced by participating staff at different levels within agency hierarchies and by the wider professional network. CONCLUSIONS:   Successful implementation and continuing use of structured assessments and other instruments in multi-agency settings requires attention to process issues. Such attention needs to be concerted and ongoing. Within child and adolescent mental health settings such an approach may be helpful beyond the field of secure adolescent care.

Original publication




Journal article


Child Adolesc Ment Health

Publication Date





184 - 190


Needs assessment, adolescent psychiatry, multi-agency working, psychiatric liaison, secure accommodation