Multi-agency Working

  • Lindsay ThomsonEmail author
  • Kris Goethals
  • Joachim Nitschke
  • Norbert Nedopil


Multi-agency working in forensic mental health is defined as the coming together of people from different professional backgrounds, organisations and services, sometimes with varying primary purposes but with the common aim of improving public safety and decreasing an individual’s risk of harm to others. This chapter examines multi-agency working and describes systems in place for this in Germany (the round table), the United Kingdom (multi-agency public protection arrangements), the Netherlands (safety houses) and Denmark (police, social services and psychiatry cooperation). The potential advantages of multi-agency working include a sharing of the burden of responsibility, clarity on responsibilities, engagement with difficult people that might otherwise be rejected by mental health services, a reduction in recidivism, encouragement of informal collaboration and development of relationships, case review and broadening the perspective from a particular professional standpoint alone, improvement in continuity of care, promotion of sharing of information on a proportional basis and shared educational opportunities. Potential disadvantages include breach of confidentiality, continued intrusion into an individual’s life and cost of multi-agency working both in terms of infrastructure financing and opportunity costs.



Thank you to the members of the Ghent Group who gave information on multi-agency working within their countries.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lindsay Thomson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Kris Goethals
    • 2
  • Joachim Nitschke
    • 3
  • Norbert Nedopil
    • 4
  1. 1.Division of PsychiatryUniversity of Edinburgh, Kennedy TowerEdinburghUK
  2. 2.Collaborative Antwerp Psychiatric Research Institute (CAPRI), Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesAntwerp University Hospital, University Forensic Centre (UFC) and University of AntwerpEdegem/WilrijkBelgium
  3. 3.Klinik für forensische PsychiatrieBezirksklinikum AnsbachAnsbachGermany
  4. 4.Department of Forensic PsychiatryPsychiatric Hospital of the University (LMU) of MünchenMunichGermany

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