Co-production should be the norm, not the exception
Despite recommendations set out over a year ago in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health, little is known about the extent to which CCGs are involving people with experience of mental illness in the commissioning of mental health services.
‘Progress through Partnership’, a new report released today by Rethink Mental Illness, has revealed that the majority of Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) do not have clear plans in place for involving people with experience of mental illness in the design and commissioning of mental health services, also known as “co-production”. CCGs told us that with enormous pressure on resources and very full remits, it was difficult to prioritise implementing new ways to involve experts-by-experience.
Information gathered by Rethink Mental Illness through a Freedom of Information (FOI) request, in which 196 out of 209 CCGs responded, uncovered that:
- Only 15% of CCGs who responded told us they had used a co-production approach at least once in mental health commissioning
- Only 1% of CCGs explicitly stated an ambition for co-production in mental health that was aligned to the vision in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health - that co-production will be a standard approach to commissioning.
- Only 14% of CCGs had plans to do more to involve people with experience of mental illness in their work.
Rethink Mental Illness’ research showed that there are some good examples of CCGs involving people with experience of mental illness in the design of services. CCGs told us that co-producing services has ensured focus on the day-to-day experience of people who use services.
This report recommends that bodies such as NHS England provide national leadership, advice and support for CCGs, and hold CCGs to account by establishing mechanisms to monitor progress. It also recommends that CCGs use tools such as the Rethink Mental Illness ‘Commissioners Co-production Grid’, and NSUN’s 4PIs to facilitate steps towards embedding co-production as the norm.
Danielle Hamm, Associate Director at Rethink Mental Illness said:
“The vision set out in the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health to embed co-production in the commissioning of mental health services is ambitious; however, it couldn’t be more important for people with mental illness, and their carers, to be meaningfully included in the decisions that affect their lives. If you want services to improve and work effectively, it makes absolute sense to get input from those people who use those services every day.
We know CCGs mostly agree that this is the right way forward, so we now need to see clear plans about how this will happen. Rethink Mental Illness has made a series of recommendations in this report which we hope will pave the way for the involvement of people with mental illness to become the norm in the design and commissioning of all mental health services.”