Our Health and Social Care Academy team review activities over 2017 for our annual report.
The Academy aims to model what it espouses and over the past year we have been involved in a wide variety of projects which have been co-produced in partnership with people with lived experience, third sector organisations and statutory partners. In order for the projects to be genuinely led by the voice of lived experience, it has been necessary for the Academy to cede power. This has led to fantastic outcomes and great progress to support transformational change across health and social care in Scotland, but has also been challenging at times.
Future Leaders was an initiative with the University of West of Scotland to amplify the voice of health and social care students, young people with lived experience and unpaid carers. The future leaders led and delivered three regional engagement events, which fed into a National Think Tank. They embraced organising and running the events and had the courage to challenge me on how we would be using the outputs of the project, highlighting that they would like to be involved in presenting the findings to current leaders in health and social care and influencing transformational change.
Suicide Prevention Strategy
The Academy has been working in partnership with Samaritans Scotland, NHS Health Scotland and the Scottish Government to co-produce the development of the forthcoming Suicide Prevention Strategy. This has been achieved by engaging with people affected by suicide through holding seven events across Scotland to capture their views and experiences and ensure the strategy is led by their input. We had a huge response to the events, which quickly became oversubscribed, and received requests from all over Scotland for further engagement opportunities.
Year of Young People
The Academy’s theme for 2018 is ‘young people’, tying in with the Scottish Government-led Year of Young People programme for 2018. In order for this to be truly led by young people we organised a planning meeting with young people and health and social care organisations working with young people. 30 people attended and the meeting focused on idea generation for events and themes that young people would like to see covered by the Academy during the Year of Young People.
All of these pieces of work have involved the Academy ceding power, which whilst desirable we found isn’t without its challenges – for all parties involved.. At times we experienced resistance from partners who were uncomfortable with an apparent lack of direction and clarity regarding expectations. Following this response from some partners the easy option would perhaps have been for the Academy to define the projects and take a more traditional, directive role.
However, we resisted doing this, which took a lot of courage and at times felt uncomfortable, and invested time building relationships and trust with partners to encourage them to see the benefits of co-production and how powerful it could be. The overwhelming positive response from people with lived experience and the inspiring outcomes from the projects evidence the importance of working co-productively and through this process I hope we have been demonstrating courageous leadership.