House of Lords: People Powered Recovery

The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Dual Diagnosis and Complex Needs invited network members to attend the launch of the People Powered Recovery report on the 22nd January 2018. This report is the summation of evidence collected by the APPG on Social Action – something that the NECG and Fulfilling Lives projects contributed to. A copy of our initial evidence submission can be found here: APPG Social Action v1.0.

Robert Eagle, Beneficiary Ambassador at Opportunity Nottingham, was originally involved in providing evidence for the submission and was invited to attend the launch. The blog below provides his experience of the day.

Robert Eagle, Beneficiary Ambassador, Opportunity Nottingham and member of the NECG

As I approached the Palace of Westminster I felt mixed emotions.

I was intrigued to soak up some history and to witness the report launch, taking place in the House of Lords committee room two.

As I was not attending in a personal capacity I decided to forego wearing a t shirt stating: ‘Guy Fawkes – the only person ever to enter Parliament with honest intent’, and try to keep an open mind. In fact the palace of Westminster didn’t need a gunpowder plot, as it appeared to be falling down all by itself!

On the day we were running late and tried to force our way through a police line holding people back so that the Speaker of the House of Commons could ceremoniously pass by on his way to the chamber – Don’t you know who we are!

During the launch event people spoke about their responses to the APPG call for evidence. This was wide ranging and diverse, yet seemed to be in agreement about the changes needed to be made.Expert citizens were enabled to contribute to the call for evidence by Sarah Robinson.

The co-chair of the APPG Lord Victor Adebowale CBE thanked everyone for their ‘cool’ contributions.

The report focusses on the benefits and challenges to ‘social action’ in complex needs.

Some of the benefits are that involvement promotes wellbeing, confidence, skills and ‘recovery capital’. Involvement improves staff knowledge and appreciation of service user’s perspectives, leading to more equal relationships,better uptake of services and improved attitudes and practices.

Challenges include the role of stigma, which blocks people being able to access services, and feeds negative ideas about entitlement, recovery and opportunities. 

The report acknowledges the challenge that successful coproduction takes increasing amounts of time, money and skills, but it is worth it.

At present an ‘inverse care law’ leads those people with the most unmet need to get the least help. As there is low investment in involvement there is a poor evidence base for the impact of involvement. A greater emphasis on involvement will lead to a more compelling case for such approaches.

But lived experience cannot be learnt and everyone would benefit from an approach which places lived experience at the centre of service design and delivery.

I was grateful for the opportunity to contribute to the evidence leading to this report and fully endorse the conclusion it has reached. The All Party Parliamentary Group has been referred to as a ‘Litmus test’, where future policy is debated in the present. I hope this comes to pass.