PSUIG Service User involvement award 2011

TWIG Ops was delighted to be invited to consider applications for PSUIG’s second annual psychology service user involvement award.

A panel comprising 3 service users, one of whom is also a carer, and one member of SLaM staff, who is also an ex-service user, considered 8 applications.

Despite significant advances in user involvement in SLaM in recent years we found real variance in the quality of applications, and we found that many applications conflated “participation” with “involvement”, in part or in whole.

In our judging, we have tried to remain true to the real ethos of service user involvement, which we believe was our remit.

We marked against 4 prescribed criteria:

  • the extent to which the project contributed to service improvement
  • the degree to which service users were involved in all aspects of the project
  • the method and robustness of methodology by which the project was evaluated, and
  • the degree of innovation of the project and the degree to which service users were involved in a creative way.

We recommend that in future years service users are also involved in drawing up the criteria, as some of the criteria we found confusing, particularly the last one. For this exercise, we referred back to the title of the award, which was about service user involvement.

We marked each application out of 10 against each of these 4 criteria.

We awarded the 8 applications overall marks of between 4 and 39 out of 40. Confidential detailed feedback from the panel to each application is available via Joe Oliver.

For us, two applications stood out, and they scored 37 and 39 marks respectively.

Both demonstrated a real commitment to involvement through a continuous loop of feedback and service changes and improvements, and both demonstrated where feedback had already led to changes in provision. Both included qualitative and quantative feedback and had robust methods for on-going evaluation of, and acting on this on-going feedback.

Both demonstrated a fundamental understanding of and commitment to involving service users in service provision.

What tipped the balance for us was that one project’s starting point was to run a focus group asking their service users what was important to them in its service and the other first developed a pilot project.

We therefore highly commend the National and Specialist CAMHS project “coping with unusual experiences for children study”, which has embedded a high level of service user and carer involvement in the design of feedback and continuous improvement into its therapeutic process, as well as providing a completely new service which could change the lives of many young people, potentially diverting them away from a lifetime of revolving door engagement with secondary services.

The winning application demonstrated an entire involvement pathway which used ex-service users of its services as peer supporters to encourage early engagement of first time users of the service, from initial referral, through treatment, to becoming a peer supporter, supporting new service users through the treatment process and well beyond. The project also demonstrated good use of exploiting new technologies to encourage engagement with their services, and to support other lifestyle changes and engagements, which would significantly benefit this group of service users (and thence the Trust).

We thought that this project involved service users from its inception, and also gave a real legacy that service users, following discharge, could have a meaningful and key role (paid and as volunteers) in supporting others through the process of treatment and well beyond the specific treatments that the Trust offers, for a client group with significant engagement issues.

We see this as real empowerment: the highest form of service user involvement.

We are delighted to award the 2011 Psychology Service User Involvement award to the Beresford project.

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