The PSC news-insights: entry


Introducing the Programme (Part II)

Part II: The significance of co-production and embedded involvement of lived experience

In our previous blog post, we explored the essential role of non-legislative change in supporting the guiding principles of the Mental Health Act reforms.

We discussed its significance in fostering cultural change, building leadership capacity, and empowering staff teams to drive positive transformation. A fundamental aspect of this is the embedded involvement of lived experience practitioners, and co-production.

In this second blog post, we will introduce the meaning of co-production, what it means for driving cultural change, and its significance for the MHA QI programme.

Introducing the Programme (Part II)

What do we mean by co-production?

The term co-production refers to a "way of working where service providers and users work together to reach a collective outcome... value-driven and built on the principle that those who are affected by a service are best placed to help design it" (Involve).

And you may have also come across the ladder of co-production, guidance on the principles of co-production - and even the river of co-production...

Why is it so important for driving cultural change in Mental Health settings?

All of these can shed light onto the need for mental health organisations to understand and interrogate their 'as is' model of co-production, and explore and develop their 'to be' model of meaningful co-production - and why it's crucial for delivering equitable care for their patients and service users.

"I have engaged people with lived experience at every stage of my career in research, design, development and delivery of services and this inclusion has never failed to add value and sustain progress...I know if we sustain this effort there will be an improvement that will save lives and support recovery of people who have suffered injustice, and I think that engaging people with lived experience from various contexts will enhance the rate and scale of progress." 

Eleanor, Mental Health Advocate & Lived Experience Practitioner, MHA QI Team

By incorporating the perspectives of patients, carers, and healthcare professionals, we can become more responsive to the needs and challenges faced by those detained under the Mental Health Act. Their first-hand experiences offer invaluable insights, ensuring that the coaching programme addresses real-life concerns and fosters a more inclusive mental health care system.

Through co-production, patients, carers, and staff collectively drive the transformation of mental health care practices.

They adopt relational practices that prioritise respect, empathy, and cultural sensitivity, creating an environment where individuals feel empowered to challenge discriminatory practices and advocate for equitable treatment.

The person centred approach of co-production is especially important in light of the MHA reforms, which place a greater emphasis on individual autonomy and say, in how they are treated under the MHA. Involving all stakeholders in the decision-making process builds trust and transparency within the mental health care system; fostering a stronger relationship between patients, carers, and healthcare providers, leading to better communication and cooperation.

By valuing the unique perspectives of each individual, co-production ensures that reforms are not just top-down directives but meaningful changes that resonate with the entire mental health sector and community. This creates a culture of continuous improvement and adaptability, making reforms more sustainable in the long run.

What is the significance of co-production & embedded involvement of lived experience on this programme?

This programme is co-produced with people with lived experience of detention under the Mental Health Act, or people who have cared for people detained under the Act in a personal capacity - from design through to delivery of the programme. 

Across participating trusts, this includes people with a learning disability & autistic people, and people from ethnically diverse backgrounds given the focus of the programme. Intersectionality plays a pivotal role in this process, with the importance of understanding and catering to individual and diverse needs playing a key role in the design of the programme.

"What excited me is that the programme is focused on co-production to address some fundamental systemic flaws. It echoes my own experiences working with people suffering exclusion and injustice. I worked in prison, probation, and then with homelessness and mental health services in the community. My own background reflects many of the characteristics that I found in my clients." 

Eleanor, Mental Health Advocate & Lived Experience Practitioner, MHA QI Team

We know there's still a way to go in understanding and striving for truly meaningful co-production.

Here at the MHA QI programme delivery team, we look forward to continuing to make strides on this journey, working with colleagues from all walks of life as part of the pilot phase of the programme.

Please do watch this space for more reflections, insights and resources - delving deeper into the meaning of co-production, and how we can support each other to effect change.

Author: Akhila Potluru, with reflections and insights from Eleanor Levy

Subscribe to The PSC Newsletter

I'm interested in...

By submitting your details you are agreeing for us to send you emails we think you might find interesting. We will never share your details with anyone else, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

We will not collect any personal data when you browse this site.

We’d like to collect Analytics Cookies to improve our site. These will only be collected if you click Accept. For more information and to change your preferences please see our Privacy & Cookies policy.