Having an I&P policy sets out a vision for how service users and people with lived experience of mental health problems will shape and influence the service. It ensures that everyone including staff, trustees, service users and other beneficiaries are all on the same page and are invested in working towards that shared vision. It means that as well as having direction, there is a plan of how this will be achieved and some guidance around what this will look like in practice. This means that it is much more likely to be implemented consistently and will be a useful document for everyone to refer to, with all relevant information in one place.
It is vital that everyone who is affected by the policy has some input when writing it. This should include staff, service users from across the organisation, senior managers and the board of trustees as well as ideally communities that are not currently represented in services. It's also important to ensure that those invited to contribute come from the widest possible range of backgrounds and communities (e.g. gender parity and representation of LGBT+ and disabled people, people from BAME communities as well as those who experience social disadvantage).
Some sections that you may want to include when writing an I&P policy:
Once you have created or reviewed your I&P policy it is important to ensure that this is available to staff, service users, trustees, and other stake holders. Think about how you will make it available and accessible to people. Some ideas you could consider include:
It is a good idea to set out how frequently the policy will be reviewed. Many organisations review it every two years as things can change rapidly in this area of work.
Once your I&P policy is written it is important to think about how this will be implemented across your organisation. How this happens will depend on what it is your policy sets out to achieve in the vision. It is important however to continue to consult with the people who contributed to creating the policy during the process.