Navigators / signposting

Effective navigation is important to providing coordinated person-centred care and support. Care navigation is an emerging idea in the UK, with growing evidence demonstrating benefits for patients and carers. Care navigators can occupy many roles and play a crucial part in helping people get the right support, at the right time, signposting people to sources of help, advocacy and support, and supporting people to play an active role in managing their own health and a wide range of needs.

We are encouraging services to utilise navigators wherever possible to provide the important interface between healthcare professionals and service users, signpost and provide information on the best options and care available in order to save clinical time.

IAPT navigation examples

Some IAPT services have incorporated the navigator role in their service provision and these are highlighted below as examples for consideration.

Kensington & Chelsea

Community Living Well [see case study] is a service where IAPT is integrated with other local partners to support patients’ mental health and wellbeing needs. All the services are co-located and there is a single-point of access for all services offered to service users. One of the services is a navigator service, which signposts to other services and supports those with complex needs. This service is very popular with increasing waiting lists recently.

Camden and Islington

Feedback from the service user Advisory Group has resulted in ‘discharge packs’ produced for patients including signposting to other services – for example, exercise groups on referral, or support for physical health LTCs, or social prescribing. [Case study: Camden & Islington iCope]


IAPT service have created a Band 5 Mental Health Advocate role to address practical support needs of service users, for example, employment needs, housing and social needs, signposting them to relevant services as required.

Talking Together Wirral

IAPT service work in partnership with Involve Northwest  and other partners to deliver a wholistic approach to IAPT. The IAPT service have a subcontract arrangement with Involve Northwest to provide navigator or social prescribing or non-clinical support function to IAPT patients with social issues. They agree priorities with the service users, develop management plans and help then identify and engage with appropriate services to meet their needs.  Please see case studies and success stories of this partnership here.

Bromley Well

The service includes various CVS partners including Mencap and Age UK, who assess service user need and direct them to sources of help for life issues (e.g. employment support).

Additional resources