Framework for Involvement



This Framework is the product of consultation with individual service users from a range of different settings and circumstances across Sutton, Hopefully it compliments any current guidelines on user involvement that are currently in use. Its strength lies in that it is being formulated by service users across Sutton.

The Charter is primarily aimed at Commissioners and Service providers both in the statutory and voluntary sector within Sutton, but it is there for service users to refer to before they take on any involvement and partnership activity.

It aims to provide a clear framework upon which all future user involvement and partnership activity will be based and should be seen in the context of developing a unified user involvement and partnership action plan as part of a mental health commissioning strategy for the borough.

The aspirations within the charter could remain just that. Unless there is real commitment from all stakeholders to explore what impact adopting the charter would have on current practice. The charter is influenced by the principles and values of recovery and social inclusion.

It is a living document, in the sense that it is open to change, review and amendment based on service users direct experience and feedback. It is hoped that the framework will be reviewed once a year so it can be amended. This is particularly important in a time of changes in health and social care policy.

The Charter is the first step towards embedding a culture of user involvement and partnership both in the work of commissioners and service providers of mental health services within Sutton.

The Framework:

1. Equality, Dignity and Respect

•    Individuals in contact with mental health services should be treated with equality, dignity and respect.

•    Commissioners and Service Providers should recognise the intrinsic value of people regardless of their circumstances by acknowledging their uniqueness, their personal needs and aspirations.

•    Commissioners and Service providers will treat all service users as human beings and with integrity, empathy and patience. Commissioners and Service providers will ensure that anti discriminatory practice is used when asking for service user involvement and partnership

•    Commissioners and service providers will actively encourage individuals from diverse culture and minority ethnic groups to participate in partnership and involvement activity in a style or way which is acceptable and appropriate to them

2. Listening and Learning

•    Commissioners and Service Providers need to recognise that as a first step to involving and enabling service users to participate is to listen and learn from their experience and expertise through a process of continued dialogue

3. Informing service users of the opportunities for their involvement

•    Commissioners and Service Providers will provide timely information on the different opportunities there are for service user Involvement and explain who they can engage in such activity.

4. Clarity of Purpose

•    Individuals and groups can expect that there is clarity around any involvement initiatives and activities in terms of its purpose and projected outcomes as well as how they will be involved or influence the decision making process

•    Individuals and groups will be informed about what the process is for responding to their ideas, concerns comments and recommendations

•    Individuals will be informed about the nature and level of involvement that is being proposed, and what the expectations and limitations are, in terms of their participation

•    Individuals need to be clear about who is taking responsibility for facilitating such involvement activity

5. Safe and supportive space

•    Commissioners and service providers will carefully consider ways in which to involve service users in a safe space, where they feel they can voice and express their concerns, opinions and ideas

•    Commissioners and service providers need to recognise that some individuals may require individual peer /  mentoring support whilst they participate

•    Commissioners and service providers will ensure that individuals who are invited to participate are aware of any transport issues involved

•    Commissioners and Service providers will ensure that any collective involvement activity are held in accessible venues in terms of physical access, induction loops and visual aids

6. Recognition and being valued

•    That Commissioners and Service providers recognise and value the contribution and participation made by service users

•    That Commissioners and providers acknowledge the comments, opinions and views of service users and takes them seriously and will respond to these in a sensitive and thoughtful way

•    Individuals can expect that Commissioners and service providers will recognise and value their involvement through a range of different methods including, payment for expenses, letters of thanks, certificates, recognition in reports.

7. Support during involvement

•    Individuals will be informed of the types of support that they can expect to be available to them to assist in their participation

•    Commissioners and Service providers will signpost individuals to organisations and projects in their locality that will assist in their involvement

•    Commissioners and Service providers must recognise that some individuals may need practical and emotional support throughout the involvement process and look at way they can support and facilitate this

8 Communication & Preparation for Engagement

•    Commissioners and Service Providers who are planning to consult with service users either on an individual or collective basis are provided with both realistic timescales and the relevant information in a format that is accessible and understandable and free as much as possible of jargon, in order for them to think through, digest and consult with their peers before participating in any consultation

9. Confidentiality

•    Confidentiality, is essential, especially when service users wish to comment about the quality of services and individual care and support they have received.

•    Commissioners and Service providers will make sure that they make any issues around confidentiality known to service users participating in any involvement and partnership activity