Past project

Community Transformation Programme

A realist evaluation of changes to community mental health services following the launch of The Community Mental Health Framework for Adults and Older Adults

Project overview

Twelve NHS sites across England were given funding as pilots in 2019 to begin work on implementing the Community Mental Health Framework for Adults and Older Adults Framework.

McPin is working as part of a consortium with three of these sites (East London, Somerset and Hertfordshire and West Essex), along with the University of Plymouth, for one year to learn about the process of implementing these community transformation programmes.

We are using realistic evaluation methodology to understand which parts of each site’s transformation plans are working well and which are not working as well. We completed two cycles of work in each site so we can feed back learning quickly, with the aim of supporting changes to strategy and practice within the year.

Project details

The NHS is a large and complicated system. We know from previous work it is very difficult to change systems, and that sometimes changes that are made have unintended consequences.

In September 2019 NHS England, NHS Improvement and the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health launched The Community Mental Health Framework for Adults and Older Adults.

Its aim is to eliminate silo working, which results in people struggling to access services, experiencing long waiting lists, and being passed around the system or finding they do not meet the criteria or threshold to receive support.

The vision of this document is to create a ‘place-based’ system of mental health care such that the needs of communities of people are met through NHS services working in partnership with each other and with services provided through the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector. Rethink produced a useful guide to inspire providers to work differently in response to this community transformation programme.

It is inevitable that changes made to services will have an impact on the lives of people supported by them, so it is important to understand what changes different NHS organisations choose to make in response to the ambitions within the Framework.

It is also important to look at how they make changes to work in partnership with their VCSE colleagues, and what impact these changes have on people who experience challenges to their mental health.

We had a team of peer researchers working on this project as ‘researchers in residence’.

This means we employed people who have their own experiences of mental health issues, or of being supported by mental health services as researchers.

They were based within the consortium’s NHS organisations, and acted as part of the local teams there.

We adopted this approach as it allowed them to feed learning directly back into those organisations as they were in the process of making changes to their local systems.

Our researchers in residence also worked with people using services and carers within the sites to understand their perspectives and to feed them into the work of the consortium.

All active research activities on this project are completed and we are in the process of finalising our reports and drawing out learning from our activities across the sites.

For more information on this study please email [email protected].

You can also watch the videos of the first two webinars:

Work with us

We are always excited to hear from others who want to collaborate on mental health research. From delivering peer research to helping you with public involvement strategies and providing training, get in touch to chat.