It all began in April 2022. We received the call…. a Mental Health Provider Collaborative was to be established across Birmingham and Solihull. How exciting!
We were asked for our involvement. Of course, we were thrilled. This was a first, a national first, for all involved.
The meetings commenced. Discussions were taking place. The who, the how, the what. The constant hum of the Teams tune was unmistakable! The wheels were turning.
We really had nothing to compare this to so started from scratch.
What we knew
That a Provider Collaborative is established to create a shift in the approach to commissioning specialised mental health. In “our world”, this meant a focus on the health of local populations, understood through outcomes, experience and the delivery of transformation in pathways of care.
To ensure that people with specialist mental health needs experience high quality, specialist care, as close to home as appropriately possible, which is connected with local teams and support networks. On paper, this seemed fairly straightforward. In practice, it wasn’t!
What we didn’t know
Just how complex a collaboration would be and how many hours of our input it would take! I don’t think any of us expected what a huge undertaking this would be.
In the beginning weeks, it was confirmed that Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Provider Collaborative was being established… comprising Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust, Forward Thinking Birmingham and the VCFSE Mental Health Collective. Birmingham City Council and Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council were to be associate partners.
ANHH were appointed Programme Director to oversee every aspect of the day-to-day management, working closely with programme leads and workstream leads to withdraw from them as much content as possible to ensure the submission of the Integrated Business Plan to the ICB.
The ICB produced an Assurance Framework. It was a mechanism for self-assessment and assuring progress towards delegation. It set out the arrangements required to be in place and the document specified the level of evidence required to be provided for assurance.
With this is place, we worked on a strict timeframe to ensure each question, in each section, in each phase was completed. In October 2022 the Assurance Framework for Delegated Responsibilities Phases One and Two were submitted.
The ICB approved to delegate on 9 January 2023. That was a major milestone and huge relief!
Weekly Project Team and Programme Team Time meetings took place, Mondays were the day for us to come together and plan the next steps. However, whatever we thought would be in place for the week inevitably changed, with deadlines cropping up here there and everywhere…. We were kept on our toes!
Governance architecture was produced… and changed, as time went on sometimes on a daily basis! Acronyms soon become our way of life. The complexity of it sometimes became totally overwhelming to get to grips with. Most days another committee, sub-committee, group or sub-group was established and needed to be included within the complex architecture…. To detail such a complex system required brain-power that you didn’t really know existed. The Provider and Commissioner architecture for the MHPC is vast.
During this time, a “New code of governance for NHS provider trusts” was published. NHS England issued this code to help NHS providers deliver effective corporate governance, contribute to better organisational and system performance and improvement, and ultimately discharge their duties in the best interests of patients, service users and the public.
This document become a key player in our daily lives. We had to ensure that what we were advising was now in line with this new document.
An Extraordinary Commissioning Committee was scheduled to address the readiness to proceed that focused on quality, finance, commissioning, contracting, workforce, communications, and engagement. ANHH produced a complementary Report which focused on governance, authorisations, approvals, and agreement.
It went live on 3 April. Now the hard work starts and we wish our partners all the best.