MH services - health and social care - are commissioned by staff employed within the NHS or by a local authority, both large public bodies. Each has its own different working culture. The main provider body in any given locality is also a substantial NHS trust. However, the majority of MH service contracts by number, though much smaller in scale, are commissioned from third sector organisations.
Being in most cases self-managing organisation, their culture tends to be significantly different from the public sector bodies. There is usually greater flexibility of thinking and of alternative approaches than appears possible within the larger bodies. Possibly for these reasons, in some areas third sector provider bodies find close affinity with local service user and carer groups. The local third sector bodies joined with carers and service users in the consultation that informed the procurement from 2gether of MH services for Herefordshire. Coincidence of the user and/or carer view with the larger voice of the third sector can offer benefits for all three. The availability of a single co-ordinated voice from the three groups can also aid both commissioners and providers by avoiding need to ‘moderate’ the three separate inputs. CiP seeks therefore to work as closely as possible with third sector bodies active in the sector.
CiP is currently working with a couple of localities on implementing the standards of the Triangle of Care initiative, sponsored by the Princess Royal Trust for Carers. Work to support the regional Employment Support Programme is developing in several areas. Third sector partners include WCAVA in Warwickshire, Herefordshire Carers and the Houghton Project in that county.
CiP seeks to build links with further third sector bodies across the region.