Increasing expectations of MVPs mean that there is generally a need for a secretariat to support the service user leadership team (e.g. Chair and Vice-chair). This secretariat can provide administrative, financial and project management support. The level of support required may to some extent depend on the capacity and skillset of your service user leadership team. E.g. If your MVP chair is an experienced project manager then they could be remunerated to provide this function. However, by ensuring that the support is there if required the chair and vice-chair roles will be accessible to people from a wider range of education levels and professional backgrounds.
Options for delivering this support include:
- The commissioner and/or provider organisations allocate staff time for MVP support
- The Local Maternity System (LMS) appoints an MVP link person/team to support MVPs across the LMS area
- A third party organisation is commissioned to provide MVP support.
However you decide to deliver this function, you may want to consider how you can ensure that the leadership and facilitation role remains centred with the service user leadership team and that they have effective working relationships with the provider, commissioner and LMS. Funding for the support function should not be at the expense of funding for the service user leadership team and the amount of time allocated to the service user roles needs to reflect their role as facilitators of the partnership.
This table shows potential benefits of the different options: