Those commissioning public services are increasingly being expected to oversee rapid large-scale local change that achieve financial savings, but also to make services more accessible, personalised and focused on prevention. In Lambeth they have seized the opportunity to transform the mental health care system. By creating a radical new commissioning model and set of healthcare services that demonstrate co-production working at scale, they have turned the system on its head, and drastically improved outcomes for people with mental health problems in the process.

The problem

  • High rates of mental health act admissions and high rates of acute hospital admissions
  • 200 people: in high cost residential and inpatient placements across Lambeth CCG and Lambeth local authority in 2014.
  • 2 times higher: rates of psychosis than the average rate for England, with poor outcomes for people with severe and enduring mental illness.

At the heart of the ambition of Lambeth Council and CCG was to demonstrate that ‘co-production’ could work on a large scale and drastically improve outcomes for people with mental health problems, regardless of the severity of their condition. Co-production is a radical alternative to the traditional model of service development and delivery that’s driven entirely by professionals. It puts citizens at the heart of their own care and focuses on their assets (what they can and want to do) not just the presenting problem. Co-production works because people’s needs are better met when they work together with professionals, on an equal footing, to get things done. Co-production happens when citizens don’t just participate in the process of designing and delivering new services, but when they own it.

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