People shaping services


Skills for People has always worked with organisations to help them involve their service users. Whether you want to know what your service users think, or want them to play an active part in the running of your organisation, we can help. We can tailor make some consultancy, training, consultation or other work to meet your needs.

Here are just a few examples of the activities we offer, and some examples of the commissioners who work with us.

Consultation with service users

We can hold events to find out what people want

  • Our Health Matters for Redcar and Cleveland Learning Disability Partnership Board 2010
  • No Secrets for regional Valuing People Now Forumto report to Department of Health
  • Disabled Persons Consultation, Information and representation Act 1986;
  • Community Care Act 1990
  • Valuing People and Valuing People Now
  • The Disability Equality Duty

We can find out what individuals feel about their service

  • Discharge Questionnaires are done with people leaving Treatment and Assessment Units for Tees Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust. We can support service users/experts by experience to train staff
  • Say it and See it (sessions to raise awareness about abuse) for Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust

We can support groups of service users to have a regular relationship with the organisation

  • Northgate Committee (of patients at Northgate Hospital, Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust) holds regular meetings with service users, service managers and reports to various Operational Management groups
  • Hear Our Voice (service users of Sunderland services of Northumberland Tyne and Wear NHS Foundation Trust
  • North Tyneside User Forum of people with learning disabilities. We have supported this forum on behalf of the North Tyneside Learning Disability Partnership Board for some years – it enables local people with learning disabilities to find out about local services, and to give their views back to the council, health services and other service providers and commissioners.
  • Redcar and Cleveland Learning Disability Partnership Board, and Redcar and Cleveland Parliament of people with learning disabilities. We have been commissioned to support these two bodies from 2010 to 2013.
  • South Tees health group We help this health group to collate and share information which will help health services to meet the needs of people with learning disabilities
  • Our services our say. Between 2005 and 2011, Skills for People worked with children and young people with learning disabilities and mental health problems to plan and design a new hospital. Their ideas meant some real changes to the plans. The Young People’s Design Team won the ‘shining a light on excellence award’ for service user involvement, particularly because of our creative use of DVD to produce engaging, anonymised and interactive information which changed as the project developed.

Here is an example of how we work in partnership with one organisation:

Skills for People works with the Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys NHS Foundation Trust to support people who use their services to say what they think. This is done through a User Reference Group. Some examples of the work we support them to do are:

Producing training resources and running training sessions for Trust staff. A DVD called Michelle’s story was produced to the story of someone’s journey through services.

The production of a Service Charter based on patient’s experience. The Reference Group have also written a Charter Self Assessment Tool for staff teams to check their work against.

Regular training sessions for Learning Disability Nurse students, Psychiatrists doing their training, and Associate practitioners.

Involvement in developing the Challenging Behaviour Pathway. Reference Group members regularly speak up in Trust decision‐making meetings including Governance Committees, project planning teams for new hospitals, and a range of reference groups.

When people leave Treatment and Assessment Units, we support them to complete Discharge Questionnaires to see what they thought of the service they received. This information is fed back to Trust Charge Nurses, Modern Matrons and Service managers.

We are working on making the CPA process (Care programme Approach) more user friendly. This is all about people being more involved in decisions about their care.

We are regularly involved in checking services.

We did a piece of work called ‘Best value’ on what people want from Psychiatrists.

We provide support to the Forensic Service user group called ‘For Us’.

North Tyneside User Forum for people with learning disabilities

Skills for People has supported North Tyneside User Forum for people with learning disabilities, for some years, making sure that local people with learning disabilities are involved in their Learning Disability Partnership Board, and can have their say about local services.

North East regional Forum on Learning Disability

We have for some years facilitated the North East regional Forum on Learning Disability. This provides an opportunity for self advocacy (speaking up) groups and other organisations of people with learning disabilities to meet together 4 times a year. The regional forum is part of the National Forum of people with learning difficulties. The National Forum’s job is telling the Government what people who use services think is working and what needs to be different.

Through the Regional Forum we consult people with learning disabilities about new laws and policies which the government are proposing. These have included:

  • Valuing People
  • Valuing People Now
  • Valuing Employment
  • No Secrets
  • The Mental Capacity Act
  • Funding for social care
  • Hate Crime Strategy

Find out more about Valuing People Now