Co-production Week 2017

Co-production Week 2017

Monday, 5 June 2017

Setting the standard for co-production in #coproweek

By Alison Lowe, Chief Executive, Touchstone (Mental health and wellbeing provider) 

We strive to model all that is great about co-production.  
In 2016, we delivered Leeds’ first ever co-production conference which included contributions from all sectors and - of course – experts-by-experience. We also wrote a blog about the conference for SCIE. 

And on 6th July 2017, we at Touchstone will be holding our second conference in Leeds. This will coincide with SCIE’s Co-production Week and will be jointly run by our partners: Leeds Involving People, Together We Can (Experts by Experience), Leeds West CCG, Leeds and York Mental Health Trust, West Yorkshire Finding Independence and others.


This time, rather than just auditing what we do well and learning from others, the aspiration is to begin building a quality standard – or kitemark – for co-production, not just for Leeds, but hopefully the whole of the UK.

In 2015/16, Together We Can members were involved in constructing, writing and evaluating a set of mental health “I Statements” against their own experiences. The six “I Statements” were then agreed by the Leeds Mental Health Framework Programme Board. This will be the overarching principles that will inform the delivery of all commissioned mental health services by the clinical commissioning group; and future service improvement and redesign projects. 

“More than a mental health diagnosis” 

The statements set out the values and competencies that will be expected from the commissioned care and support provided:

  1. I am more than a mental health diagnosis. Treat me like an individual human being
  2. I may rely on family and friends to stay well. Give them support, information and respect
  3. I want to be heard and included, regardless of my identity. Offer me accessible and culturally competent support
  4. I may be facing more than just a mental health challenge (e.g. Substances including alcohol or a physical condition). Respond to these creatively and without judgement
  5. I will know the name of the person responsible for my support. Show me that you are a human being too
  6. I have a story to tell. Share information effectively, with my permission, so I don’t have to repeat myself.

These statements will form the basis of our conference discussions on 6th July and will hopefully become the architecture of our future co-production standard.  In time, our vision is that experts-by-experience will be trained to assess organisations and services against the co-produced standards of practice. They will also be paid by them to improve compliance with the expected standard.  We hope that eventually, no organisations working in mental health will be commissioned unless it has, at least level One in co-production, rising to level three for the best performing organisations.  

We know this is a big ask and an even bigger vision.  We think Leeds is up for it and on 6th July, we will find out – please come along too if you fancy an adventure. 

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