Building a system collaborative
‘Collaboratives’ are forums where people come together to discuss, debate and push for change in the way in which a local area responds to the mental health needs in its population.
Inspired by Lambeth’s Collaborative - which has now been meeting regularly for 10 years - new Collaboratives have been meeting every month in Tameside & Glossop, Salford and Luton. They are made up of people who use services, carers, practitioners, managers and leaders and are represented by all the main organisations working in mental health, including voluntary sector providers, carer and user organisations, mental health trusts, Clinical Commissioning Groups and local authorities.
Collaboratives represent a very different way of unlocking energy, ideas and resources. They recognise that anyone in a system can be a leader. People bring themselves, and their personal motivation, to the work. In Collaborative meetings, job titles and lanyards don’t matter, hierarchy is flattened. Equality and inclusivity are key. It is often difficult to know if a Collaborative member is a chief officer, frontline worker, or carer, for example. Collaboratives are the engine room of collaborative leadership - the practice of working together as peers across organisational and professional boundaries, towards a common purpose and shared vision for change.
Living Well Collaboratives oversee and help direct the design of new Living Well service models. They also look to influence other areas of mental health - for example crisis care and care for children and young people - and the wider health and social care system.
Collaboratives have key roles in:
Creating, holding and
vision and values
We are clear about our motivation and vision
We know our core Living Well values
We are in it for the long haul
Our vision is informed by lived experience
We review and refresh our goals
The Lambeth Living Well Collaborative is a coalition of service users, carers, voluntary sector providers, primary care, social care, commissioners and secondary care, who first came together in 2010 in a local cafe to start to drive change in the mental healtah system. They were initially commissioned by the CCG to co-design a radical new mental health service - what became the Living Well Network Hub.
Over the last ten years they have continued to meet in the same local cafe for a few hours every month to discuss solutions to long-standing challenges that weren’t being addressed by ‘business as usual’:
Poor service user experience and disjointed care pathways, secondary care services struggling with high caseloads, over capacity in hospital wards and reducing budgets. They wanted a new system that could shift investment from secondary to primary and community care, make it a lot easier for people to get help where and when they need it, focus on people’s assets and strengths and blend medical/clinical support with social offers that address the wider determinants of ill health.
Since 2010, Lambeth’s
Provided legitimacy and authority for change
Supported co-production at the heart of the change process, and encouraged professionals, service users and carers to work with, not against each other
Maintained energy for change among local stakeholders and kept things going when momentum has slowed
Held each other to account in achieving a shared vision
Provided a blueprint for collaborative leadership that helped lay the ground for new models of collaborative commissioning
Mental Health Hospital Trust
Voluntary Sector Providers
People who use services