Thursday 2 October 2014

Co-producing the Annual Report for Mental Health

L-R: Aled Davies (Powys County Councillor), Sophia Bird (Powys Public Health), Meriel Richards (individual rep National Forum for Service Users & Carers), Seamus O'Doherty (Welsh Ambulance Service), Louisa Kerr (Powys teaching Health Board), Clare Lines (Strategic Lead Mental Health - PtHB), Michelle Forkings (Aneurin Bevan Health Board), Jackie Davies (Children & Young People's Partnership), Steve Pearce (Powys Youth Justice).

Following development of the new Powys mental health strategy – Hearts and Minds: Together for Mental Health – the first annual report was produced by the Powys Mental Health Planning and Development Partnership Board for 2012-13 (you can read it here). This reports on which key elements of the delivery plan had been achieved during that year. As far as I am aware, it was written primarily by staff working for Powys teaching Health Board.

At a recent meeting of the National Partnership Board (minutes available here) the individual representative who is based in Powys, Rhydian Parry, gave feedback from the National Forum for Service Users and Carers. One of the points he made was:

“Service user and carer views need to be clearly and accurately embedded in annual reports.”

“The Chair (of the NPB) responded saying all Local Health Boards and Trusts have been informed of this requirement. A small amount of financial support has been made available to each Partnership Board to support this process. Sian Richards (Welsh Government Mental Health Strategy Lead) will be meeting the Service User and Carer members immediately after this to discuss how they can play an active role in the development of the Welsh Government report.”

I knew that an event had taken place in late September this year, pulling together the members of the Powys Mental Health Planning and Development Partnership (PMHP&DP), including those using mental health services and those close to them, to look at production of this year’s annual report. The work was being described as “co-production” – a word which can mean so many different things to different people. It is defined by the New Economics Foundation “as delivering public services in an equal and reciprocal relationship between professionals, people using services, their families and their neighbours”.

So, I asked my colleague Freda Lacey for an update about last week’s event.

Freda told me that four of the individual reps – Rhydian Parry, Meriel Richards, Kate Van Ende and Michelle Willingham – had contributed along with people working to provide statutory mental health services, Powys Public Health, a Powys county councillor, Powys Youth Justice Service and the Welsh Ambulance Service. Prior to the event the four individual reps had given feedback first on the structure of the event, and then about the way their contribution would be included in the Annual Report.

The idea of a “timeline” was developed – the journey of an individual’s life from cradle to grave – along which mental health services could be accessed. Feedback was then given about these services.

The completed Annual Report will be signed off by Powys teaching Health Board (PtHB) in October before being passed to the Welsh Minister for Health & Social Services – Mark Drakeford. It comprises two parts – a written section, where the reps have made detailed feedback on the delivery plan and overall report, and an audio version containing real life voices. The voices will include contributions from an all age perspective, including children from the Sparks Project run by Tros Gynnal, an interview with an older couple relating to dementia, and excerpts from the DIY Futures book of stories – it’s the inside that matters, covering adults’ and older adults’ perspectives. Additionally, partners have been asked to give their feedback on how the voices of people in contact with services have helped shape their services. There will be contributions from Dyfed-Powys Police and the Children and Adolescent Mental Health Services team (CAMHS).

Clare Lines, Strategic Lead for Mental Health at PtHB, and chair of the Powys Mental Health Planning and Delivery Partnership, will also speak about the positive impact that the individual reps have made on her work and that of the Partnership.

We will let you know as soon as the Annual Report for 2013 - 14 is published. Watch this space!


  1. It's very good to know about this and the volunteer representatives should all be praised for their hard work and commitment. I have a question though, how are other people in contact with services able to talk to the representatives, in order that as many views as possible are taken into consideration? Would that be covered by life stories and audio recordings or are there some other ways of doing this?

    1. Hi Philip
      Many thanks for your comment. Freda has asked me to post her response:
      "Phil, thank you for your comments and questions. In terms of people in contact with services speaking or meeting with individual representatives, this is very much a key concern and focus of the individual reps and they are very keen to get out and meet people across Powys. They are focused on going to the mental health resource centres, attend local Stronger-in-Partnership network meetings, other networks and groups already set up. They have also been discussing pulling together a "Powys Individuals' Forum" to meet so that there is an open forum for discussion and feedback directly to and from them. The individual reps have asked me to help them get out and around and they have recently been down to Ystradgynlais Mind, Llandrindod Mind, including visiting outreach groups, and the Welshpool "Light the Way" group and have been to the Pan Gwent Forum to see how things work in Gwent in terms of meeting with people in contact with services."

  2. The Hearts and Minds 2013-2014 Annual Report has now been published and you can read it here.

  3. You can now listen to people talk about their experiences of mental health services and recovery for the Annual Report on the Powys teaching Health Board website here.