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Progress through Partnership:Involvement of people with lived experience of mental illness in CCG commissioning

Co-production – the active involvement of people with lived experience of mental illness in service design – has been shown to empower service users, increase the quality and efficiency of services and improve clinical outcomes (McKeown, 2014; Nesta, 2012).

Despite a growing consensus that people with lived experience have a valuable contribution to the commissioning process, the involvement of people with lived experience has been minimal in NHS mental health commissioning.

In 2016, the Five Year Forward View for Mental Health (5YFVMH) acknowledged this discrepancy and called for a culture change in mental health commissioning: mandating commissioners to embrace fully co-produced approaches and embed the active involvement of expertsby- experience at every stage of the commissioning cycle.

Rethink Mental Illness wholeheartedly supports this direction of travel and is encouraged by the strength of commitment at a national level to coproduction. However, co-produced approaches are new to many CCGs and little is known about the extent to which experts-by-experience are currently involved in mental health commissioning.

To address this and establish how best to support CCGs to embrace co-production, Rethink Mental Illness conducted research to evaluate current practice in the involvement of experts-by-experience in mental health commissioning in England. The findings were evaluated to establish key recommendations for CCGs and the wider health system to ensure co-production becomes common practice within mental health commissioning. Findings and recommendations

Our findings demonstrated that, despite the 5YFVMH recommendation, many CCGs are yet to embrace genuinely co-produced approaches. 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 a commitment that, in the future, co-production will be a standard approach to commissioning. Clearly, there is work to do to persuade CCGs of the value of co-produced approaches.