10 October 2012

Moving forward together

'Moving forward together' was the second stage of a major co-production effort to build a new Trust engagement and involvement strategy.

Its objective was to help create 'new and better relationships between the Trust and service users, carers and other partner organisations so as to enable us to design and deliver services that enable and empower people to reach their potential and live fulfilling lives'.

The vibrant event focused on creating a vision of what this new relationship should look like, identifying the issues that needed to be overcome and how best to achieve this.

The event - designed by service users representatives and staff - brought together around 100 service users, carers, third sector representatives, AWP staff and representatives of other organisations and drew on feedback from the series of  'Let's get Engaged' events, held over the past couple of months across the Trust. It was led by independent facilitator Phil Davis, of Impact Innovation, who also works closely with the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement.

Working in small groups containing a mix of attendees, the aim was to identify how the new working arrangements would feel if the new vision is achieved, what would be done differently and what would be achieved as a result. Tables focused on how this would work in three key areas: day to day involvement and engagement, improvement projects and resolving situations or improving care through speedy communication.

Using words and pictures to describe their vision, the groups then built simple illustrative models to bring their vision to life before spending time generating ideas on how issues identified could be resolved as well as contributing fresh thinking to what should go into the engagement and involvement strategy.

A host of ideas were generated which will now be collated into themes by different working groups, consisting of a cross section of participants who want to be involved. The different ideas will be consolidated into a single vision with the best ideas worked up as part of developing the new strategy which will be signed off by the Board before the end of the year.

Establishing a new engagement and involvement strategy in this way reflects the Board's commitment to making sure that service users and carers are always at the centre of everything the Trust does. Through this co production event, those who will be affected by the new strategy had the opportunity to help shape it so that is as effective as possible and will meet expectations and needs.

The event was well-received, with attendees challenging the Trust to ensure words are turned into actions.

Click here to see the feedback from the individual 'Let's get engaged!' events and the documentation used at 'Moving forward together'.

Non executive director Peter Greensmith was one of those attending. He said, "What encouraged me most was seeing so many groups of service users, carers, clinicians and other mental health partners all focusing on common issues and working out solutions to help improve the services for patients and service users." 

A reality check came at the end of the event when attendees were asked how confident they were that the Trust would be able to achieve its vision. Only 24 per cent of those attending were confident or very confident that AWP would be able to deliver on the vision, with 45 per cent not sure and 31 per cent not confident.

Mr Greensmith said he was not surprised by the responses. "Service users and carers often remind me that we will be judged on what we do and not on what we say we might do, so this has been a good start but there is a lot more to do." he said.

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