On 6th July 2017, Touchstone hosted Leeds’ second coproduction conference.  This time to coincide with national coproduction week.
The aims of the conference were 3 fold:

  • To shine a light on the existing examples of coproduction in the region
  • To introduce more people to the “I Statements” and their place in mental health commissioning in Leeds
  • To start the process of developing a coproduction kitemark for Leeds (and hopefully wider) by establishing a project board of interested attendees from the day.

Touchstone partnered with a range of organisations including the 3 Leeds CCGs, Leeds Involving People, WY-FI, Together We Can (experts by experience who led on the development of the “I Statements”), Forum Central, ZIP (the Dual Diagnosis experts group) as well as experts from Touchstone’s News4You and Meeting of Minds which is based in Kirklees.
Over 120 people from voluntary and  statutory organisations came on the day, and of course we had experts by experience to lead the day, take part in delivering presentations and who signed up as project board members.
We heard from our keynote speaker, Maff Potts, founder of Camerados, a social enterprise and global movement of people who are going through tough times. It helps people to create and run “Rapid Micro Businesses”, meet and support each other in Public Living Rooms, and aims to achieve the two essentials to beat tough times: Friends & Purpose.
Maff Potts reminded us that Coproduction assumes everyone has great ideas, not just the people using services. He also pointed out that people are all different and whether we tap out the wrong beat – the tune is always right.
Next up was Sinead Cregan and carer Rajeev Mair, who told us about the use of coproduction in the recent review of Leeds’ BME Day Services and how, together, the city had reached a consensus for the majority of people and stakeholders.  Sinead also talked about the concept of recovery and how it was “a way of living a satisfying, hopeful and contributing life even with the limitations caused by the illness”.
It was great that Together We Can were able to be present to explain the process of development of the “I Statements” and how they coproduced these with people and stakeholders to embed the principles into health social care commissioning in Leeds.
The “I” Statements are:

  1. I am more than a mental health diagnosis. Treat me like an individual human being.
  2. I may rely on family and friends to stay well. Give them support, information and respect.
  3. I want to be heard and included, regardless of my identity. Offer me accessible and culturally competent support.
  4. I may be facing more than just a mental health challenge (e.g. Substances including alcohol or a physical condition). Respond to these creatively and without judgement.
  5. I will know the name of the person responsible for my support. Show me that you are a human being too.
  6. I have a story to tell. Share information effectively, with my permission, so I don’t have to repeat myself.

Together We Can will co-lead the project board with Touchstone to ensure the “I Statement” principles and philosophy are embedded.
After a fantastic lunch, there were 3 excellent presentations from local experts groups, including Touchstone’s own Meeting of Minds – Michael you were a star!  Together We Will then ran a series of workshops on what a coproduction kitemark might look and how we would know practice is excellent.
The notes from these sessions will form the start of the workplan for the project board to take forward at its first meeting on 5th September.  Anyone who is interested in coming along and being part of the production of Leeds’ first ever coproduction standard should email Jiml@touchstonesupport.org.uk. Jim will bring a report and action plan based on the work on the steering group to the October committee.
Finally, our fantastic poet Adam, captured all the day’s conversations and headlines in a thought provoking poem which will be available, along with highlights from the day, on Touchstone’s YouTube channel and Facebook in the very near future.
The coproduction conference was a really useful opportunity to meet with other providers and talk about our experiences and challenges with coproduction in a structured and supportive arena. The guest speakers were really interesting and varied and it was helpful to see things from different perspectives, such as: the adult son of a service user of a care home, a mental health commissioner, and the founder of an organisation designed to give people friendship and purpose.

See conference highlights on Twitter