The People Panel: Our Service User/Experts by Experience Group.
The NWCCP is committed to ensuring that service users and carers are involved with as many aspects of the training programme as possible and that trainees have opportunities to engage in meaningful collaborative dialogue with all members. An Expert by Experience (EBE) group was initially established in 2008 and operates under the title of ‘The People Panel’, which refers to the programme’s Service User and Experts by Experience Group.
The main aims of the People Panel are:
- To enhance the learning and future practice of clinical psychology trainees by sharing service user and carer experiences which may offer a different perspective to trainees.
- To ensure that professional and clinical competencies are underpinned by values and practices that acknowledge and respect the goals, needs and strengths of service users, and their carers and families, in a mutual person-centered way.
- To discuss as a group, action plans, topics of interest, any media coverage relating to service users/carers, and service development with the aim of sharing this information with trainees and the programme team.
- To support and encourage creative ideas and innovative ways of working in partnership with Trainee Clinical Psychologists and the programme team.
The People Panel consists of representatives currently from a number of different specialisms including Adult Mental Health, Intellectual Disability, Health Clinical Psychology, Older Adults and Children’s Services. Panel members have a term of office of three years, in keeping with the other committees on the programme. After this period a vacancy will arise so that a new member can join the panel. After serving their term of office on the People Panel, members can continue to engage with the programme in other ways (teaching, CBT workshops, research etc.) and are continued to be invited to any programme related function.
People Panel Involvement to date:
Since its inception People Panel members have been actively involved with the following areas:
- Academic Teaching
Members of the People Panel and other service user and care representatives contribute on a regular basis to a number of teaching sessions including Adult Mental Health, Intellectual Disability, Child and Adolescent, Health Clinical Psychology and Older Adults. The feedback from trainees remains consistently very positive following these sessions. People Panel members also co-facilitate CBT workshops where formative feedback is given directly to trainees on their performance from a service user and carers perspective; again, feedback from trainees regarding this experience is very positive and appreciated.
- Selection Procedures
People Panel members have helped in the development of the programme’s shortlisting criteria. In addition, members of the People Panel participate in the programme’s interviewing process for new trainees, with a member sitting on each interview panel alongside members of the programme team and NHS colleagues. The ratings given to candidates are weighted the same for all members of the interview panels, including People Panel members. People Panel members also take part in interviewing new members of staff.
- Clinical Placement
The People Panel devised the Service User Feedback form which clients are asked to complete about trainees and their experience of working with them at the end of each trainees’ placement. The Panel have also been actively involved in designing guidelines regarding the sharing of client information from placements in relation to the role of a clinical psychology trainee and the academic requirements relating to submission of written reports of clinical activity.
Trainees regularly ask the People Panel for feedback regarding aspects of projects such as participation information sheets and consent forms, and present research projects at various stages of development for advice and feedback. Feedback is given to trainees either at the meeting or, later, via e-mail. The lively discussions at People Panel meetings have assisted trainees when they felt they had got ‘stuck’.
People Panel members regularly attend, and have presented, at the annual Research Fayre, and contribute by offering comments and ideas following the research proposals presented. The People Panel are keen to get more involved in research and this strand of service user and carer involvement is currently being developed to maximise future collaboration and co-production.
- Programme Committees and wider involvement in the training community
The People Panel has a representative on each of the following committees: Training Committee, Curriculum Committee, Selection Committee, Supervisors Committee and the Anti-Racism, Anti-Discrimination and Promotion of Cultural Competencies Committee. The representatives take forward People Panel ideas to these meetings, and subsequently provide feedback to the People Panel meetings from these committees.
In addition, ‘Meet the Trainees’ has become a well-established session where The People Panel meets the new cohort at the beginning of each year, socializing informally during a buffet lunch after meeting as a group to introduce themselves and share experiences, interests and perspectives. This provides a basis for welcoming the trainees to any People Panel meetings they may wish to attend during their time on the programme, and/or getting in touch at any time. The People Panel is always invited to the Annual Stakeholders’ Day, where qualifying trainees present their research projects, thus following the trainees’ progress from start to finish.
The People Panel also has the opportunity to represent the programme on the BPS’ Group of Trainers in Clinical Psychology (GTiCP) involvement group and attend the GTiCP annual conference.
We have trainee representation from all cohort years attending the People Panel meetings; this enables trainees to maintain contact with the panel members and seek support and advice on any issues relating to placements or research/academic work. The panel members are always very keen to offer support in any way they feel able to.
At the last BPS and HCPC accreditation visit in 2019 the programme’s People Panel was commended as follows: The BPS and HCPC panel was particularly impressed with the programme’s People Panel, the way it was integrated to all processes of the programme from selection onwards and it was commended as best practice, and in addition the commitment and enthusiasm of the representatives of the panel were highlighted.