The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health highlighted the importance of effective local planning to help prevent mental health problems. Public Health England’s leadership of this complex change programme included the production of guidance for local authorities, the NHS, and others, with a wide range of stakeholders needing to be involved in its design. Timescales meant the engagement had to be complete within three months of the start of the contract, and the guidance within five months.
Kaleidoscope, working with others including the King’s Fund, designed and ran a range of face-to-face and digital events for stakeholders across England. These focused on interaction between participants, sharing what was working (or not) in their areas, and how Public Health England could support them. Kaleidoscope used this to produce national guidance, based on analysis as to how national documents can best support local change.
Over 200 people attended the stakeholder events, rating them highly: the face-to-face events received an average feedback score of 84%. Participants particularly valued being involved in the design of national policy, as well as the chance to hear from colleagues they’d not had a chance to meet. The guidance was published by Public Health England in August 2017 to praise from a wide range of stakeholders.
The development of ‘place-based plans’ stresses the importance of the NHS and local authorities having constructive relationships with voluntary and community groups. The Richmond Group of charities has been testing in Somerset how to build better collaborations both within the voluntary and community sector (VCS), and between the sector and statutory bodies. This included working with national and local organisations to realise what progress has been made, and how learning can be spread to other areas.
Kaleidoscope designed and delivered a workshop for 20 national and local stakeholders to reflect on the programme to date. This included designing the event so as to maximise the knowledge and experience in the room, and ensuring that discussions kept tightly to the desired purpose. Following the event Kaleidoscope wrote up the event both in a blog (Knitting from the middle out), and through a synthesis pack.
The event was praised by attendees who found it useful and particularly valued the ability to meet others working on and around the programme. The blog was read and shared widely, including by those working in national policy bodies and beyond.
“We were organising a high profile round table for important national and local stakeholders. I wanted to be able to contribute and listen without having to worry about timings and deliverables, so I was looking for someone to facilitate.
Richard from Kaleidoscope did much more than that: he helped me figure out what I needed to get from the event, devised a lively agenda, kept discussions on the day engaged and productive and wrote the whole thing up beautifully in a way that completely removed the headache of feedback to participants. I would thoroughly recommend working with Richard again.”
Charlotte Augst, Partnership Director, The Richmond Group