S71: The real value of co-design: everybody learns, the system benefits.

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By September 26, 2017 No Comments

Authors: Cathy Baker, Sally Gaven

Year: 2017

Event: 2017 TheMHS Conference

Subject: Innovation, Government,

Type of resource: Conference Presentations and Papers

Abstract: In December 2016, the Mental Health Commission of NSW engaged Sally Gaven Consulting to undertake a review of its Mental Health Grants Program and the funding provided to Being, Mental Health Carers NSW, Way Ahead and Collective Purpose to identify opportunities to:
• establish effectiveness of the grants
• enhance governance and management
• assess strategic functions
• support practice improvement and explore opportunities.

The review’s collaborative and capacity-building nature meant that the organisations’ boards, management, staff, members and other stakeholders were directly involved and helped shape the findings. This was achieved by participatory principles and practices across five review elements:

Methods and Intruments
Peer Consultants <- -> Stakeholders

The presentation demonstrates the value each element of participation provided the Commission and the funded organisations, how each could be improved (learnings of the review), and how the co-design approach resulted in a constructive process, whereby the board members and the three CEOs, the Commission and the consultants all collaborated on a process of joint learning and capacity-building (rather than the organisations being passive subjects of review), with systemic benefits of the process likely to be long-lasting. The presentation includes the perspective of the peer consultants in working at a systemic and state-wide level in an innovative and exciting review context, including some unexpected but very instructive outcomes.

Learning Objectives
Learning Objective 1: People in the audience will improve their understanding of what co-design means for mental health organisations - and how service users can be valued and useful as experts in their own lived experience and as central to service design, governance, review or reform processes. They will learn this through hearing about the experiences and reflections of peer consultants and peak body representatives who were recently involved in a state-wide review of mental health funding to community-managed organisations by the Mental Health Commission of NSW. The audience will also learn specific success factors for co-design from the perspectives of both peer and strategic management consultants.

Learning Objective 2: The imperative to engage, involve and work with consumers and carers is a formal requirement for mental health services under the National Safety & Quality Health Service Standards (Standard 2 Partnering with consumers). It is also emphasised in the non-mandatory National Standards for Mental Health Services 2010 and National Framework for Recovery-Oriented Mental Health Services 2013.

The right to join in making decisions and choices about individual care and about health service planning is included in the Australian Charter of Healthcare Rights.
Specifically in NSW, the Mental Health Commission of NSW’s Living Well: A Strategic Plan for Mental Health in NSW 2014-2024 articulates a whole-of-government, whole-of-life and whole-of-community vision for mental health in NSW with specific actions at sections 4.1 and 4.2 to promote the participation of consumers and carers.

Living Well notes that in general, the participation of consumers and carers in the design, development, management and reform of mental health services is a key human right and fundamental to civil society. It is also linked to improved recovery and more efficient, less costly services.

The benefits specific to co-design, or designing human services in collaboration with consumers and carers include:
• creation of a shared understanding
• generation of rich, subjective, multi-dimensional learnings and outcomes
• outcomes with higher user value - more relevant, accessible and appropriate services
• greater efficiency of decision-making and lower development costs
• improved accountability
• improved uptake of innovation.

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