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Our response to the consultation for the Programme for Government

Wed, 31 - March - 2021

MindWise welcomes the opportunity to respond to the Programme for Government (PFG)
consultation and have spoken to a range of stakeholders to support us in compiling our response. Julie Larmour-Knight, our 
Area Manager for Information, Advice, and Advocacy services, outlines our response below...

A key theme that MindWise wishes to emphasize strongly is the need for co-design and collaboration with clients fully represented and involved in every element of our services. This is something we have evidenced in our response to the draft Programme for Government (PfG).

Client engagement/co-production

MindWise seeks to encourage client engagement at all levels in relation to the development of the PfG and the delivery of services through it. This needs to be integrated and positive relationships where the mutual benefit of partners is realised needs to be ring-fenced as a prerequisite for evidencing effective commissioning and co-production. 

The priority of the Independent Mechanism in Northern Ireland (IMNI) Disability Forum is to maximise the involvement of people with disabilities in the realisation of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities in Northern Ireland (read more about the IMNI Disability Forum on the Equality Commission website). This is an example of practice that looks to influence and shape government through co-participation and co-design, as evidenced in the Department for Communities Disability strategy.

We would strongly support the active involvement of our peers and our clients in the co-design and co-participation of the PfG, its monitoring and evaluation.  

The involvement and full participation of our clients requires further work. Our clients and our people support the outcomes. However, being categorized under an 'Outcome for Care' or a 'key priority of mental health' is problematic. It limits the approach of all people if we're viewed only under these outcomes. It means we are are in practice discriminating and limiting the inclusive approach that is required. The Scottish Government National Framework fully realises a human rights outcome, something we feel is missing from this programme. 

Children & young people are close to our thinking and practice

We embrace a ‘Think Family’ approach. When it comes to the development of a child, a whole family/system approach to achieving these outcomes is well researched and evidenced. It is also vital when development is impacted and an intervention required, that swift access to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) is a priority (inclusive of early years, peri and pre-natal).

Inclusion of these areas underpins the outcome for children to have the best start in life. This outcome needs significant increased investment in early years/CAMHs/families. It would also go some way to addressing Adverse Childhood Experience's - direct and transgenerational impacts. That's why a clear resource plan is needed to refer to in reviewing the outcomes framework, to ensure that 'what better looks like' can be delivered. 

Clear and meaningful collaboration

MindWise welcomes an outcomes framework to underpin the Programme for Government. It seeks enhancement in the framework to become more equitable, inclusive, person-centred, human rights-orientated, and evidenced in the document and in practice. An effective resourcing plan, with partnership working outlined and with the monitoring and evaluation of performance co-produced in a mutual way from the outset is key and will lead to clear and meaningful collaboration with key stakeholders, clients and industry.  

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