User Focused Monitoring

Our services are informed by innovative research undertaken by users of mental health services – including our service users– through the User Focused Monitoring project (2005-2012) funded by Camden and Islington
Primary Care Trusts more.

User Focused Monitoring trains and employs paid auditors who are users of mental health services to evaluate those services. We contributed to the model developed by the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health (now Centre for Mental Health). It works on the premise that for evaluation to genuinely reflect the concerns of service users, then they should lead the process at every stage.

Since 2008, 20 service user auditors have undertaken 264 in depth interviews with other mental health service users to compile several reports for Camden and Islington Primary Care Trusts. Many have used their
experience as a stepping stone to further training and employment.

The project has passed on knowledge to other local service groups, delivering training to Enfield Borough Service User Group and presenting to the People’s Network in Hackney.

We contributed to G320’s report ‘Flexible and focused: the specialists at the heart of neighbourhoods’ which examined the role of smaller housing associations (HAs) in London. Amongst the key messages, stakeholders identified the important role played by smaller associations as niche providers, particularly in supported housing and local delivery. Small HAs closeness to tenants pays dividends in terms of satisfaction and our strong commitment to partnership working allows us to play to the strengths of our sector in being agile and flexible.

We also took part in ‘Duty of Care: the role of trusts and foundations in supporting voluntary organisations through difficult times’. The report presented findings from the first year of Recession Watch, a
two year research project led by the Institute of Voluntary Action Research working with six foundations.