A national framework for recovery-oriented mental health services: guide for practitioners and providers

Capability 4D: Workforce development and planning

Page last updated: 2013

Recovery-oriented mental health services prioritise building a workforce that is knowledgeable, compassionate, collaborative, skilled, diverse and committed to supporting personal recovery first and foremost.

Core principles

  • The vision for recovery-oriented organisations incorporates a workforce that is knowledgeable, compassionate, collaborative, skilled and diverse.
  • Ongoing learning, skill development and reflection for recovery-based practice is built into an organisation’s professional development processes and continuous quality improvement.


Values and attitudes

Mental health providers...
  • are open to changing, developing and embracing new work practices
  • commit to being a learning organisation and to continuous quality improvement
  • welcome lived expertise as a tool for strengthening organisational commitment to compassionate, person-centred ways of working
  • are generous and share resources and knowledge through partnerships and collaboration to contribute to the development of a skilled workforce


Mental health providers...
  • know and understand the evidence base embracing new work practices required for an increased recovery orientation
  • understand relevant legislation and its requirements regarding safety and rationale for coercive intervention
  • seek knowledge in a wide range of fields to support recovery-oriented workforce development Top of page

Skills and behaviours

Mental health providers...
  • are proficient in using measures to assess the recovery orientation of the organisation
  • collaborate with people with lived experience when formulating plans for organisational and workforce development
  • build teams that are skilled and equipped to strengthen the recovery orientation of their practice and service delivery
  • have a plan and infrastructure for supporting the personal and professional development of staff
  • contribute to service innovation at all levels of the organisation

Recovery-oriented practice

Mental health providers...
  • have open and shared knowledge management
  • recruit staff with the appropriate values, attitudes and knowledge to support recovery processes
  • retain staff through a supportive, healthy and nurturing workplace
  • recruit people with lived experience to applied lived experience positions and peer worker positions as well as people with lived experience who also have professional training and experience
  • view applied lived experience as a discipline that contributes skills and expertise to mental health services
  • build a culturally competent and diverse workforce
  • provide staff with opportunities to increase and enhance knowledge, engage in reflective practice and make progress in their careers
  • provide equal opportunities for staff in supervision, mentoring and coaching so they can explore, critically reflect and learn directly from the wisdom and experience of others
  • have effective performance management systems to assess workers’ progress with supporting recovery and providing recovery-oriented services with indicators that are validated as well as relevant and meaningful to consumers and families Top of page

Recovery-oriented leadership

Mental health providers...
  • reward strong, committed, inspiring and forward-thinking leadership enables, resources and supports staff to apply recovery-oriented principles and values to their practice
  • work together and in partnership with consumers and their families to move the organisation forwards in recovery-oriented framework
  • enable staff to perform at their highest potential in their roles of supporting personal recovery.


Establish learning circles and communities of practice for applying recovery in life and work.

Resource materials

Mental Health Coordinating Council 2008, Mental health recovery philosophy into practice: a workforce development guide www.mhcc.org.au/documents/Staff%20Development%20Guide/Introduction-revised.pdf (This site was active at time of publishing.)