Knowledge and Understanding Framework

In December 2007 the Department of Health and Ministry of Justice commissioned the development of a national framework to support people to work more effectively with personality disorder.

As a result the Knowledge and Understanding Framework was developed and is now available nationally including:

  • Awareness training of 1, 2 or 3 days
  • Train the Trainer to certify staff to deliver training
  • Women’s KUF Awareness for gender specific work
  • 8 Modules for workforce development
  • Virtual Learning Environment for Online Modules

This educational development work built upon the aspirations articulated within the policy guidance documents “No longer a Diagnosis of Exclusion” and “Breaking the Cycle of Rejection” published in 2003. The key goal of the framework is to improve service user experience through developing the capabilities, skills and knowledge of the multi agency workforces in Health, Social Care and Criminal Justice who are dealing with the challenges of personality disorder.

These high quality educational programmes are delivered by leading practitioners and service user consultants. The Awareness Level Programme has a number of packages available including a Train the Trainers version. Single stand-alone modules are also available along with whole programmes to further develop staff beyond the awareness level. Further details can be found at the KUF website, here.

KUF awareness level training

The awareness level programme is the foundation element of the Knowledge and Understanding Framework and provides students with the underpinning knowledge and understanding required to work more effectively with service users with a diagnosis of personality disorder.

The awareness level programme is made up of six online modules assessed through a virtual learning environment alongside experiential training days. The modules have been designed with underpinning principles to guide the activities and learning.

These principles are:

  • Starting with the perspectives of people who are doing this work and using these services
  • Connecting service users past experiences with their current behaviours
  • Making sense of reactions and responses within different contexts
  • Developing effective communication skills
  • Developing sensitivity to service user experience
  • Understanding organisations and the importance of teamwork
  • Developing self awareness and critical reflection skills

The six online modules are outlined in the diagram below:


Regional funding has supported the implementation of this training including building capacity of staff and service user trainers across the country. Gender specific awareness level training has also been developed to support staff working with women in secure settings.

The awareness training has been successfully implemented within some prisons and criminal justice settings to support the work involved in the development of ‘psychologically informed planned environments’ (PIPEs). These environments are specifically staffed to be ‘user friendly’ to everybody involved in them, by ensuring a high level of respect and understanding and valuing relationships.

To access further information regarding the awareness training please contact KUF Academic Programme Administrator; kufenquiries@nottshc.nhs.uk or call 0115 748 4233. Further details can be found at the KUF website, here.