Before you start appointing your service user leadership team (e.g. Chair and Vice-chair), you will need to be confident that you have a mechanism for paying remuneration and expenses in a timely way.
For the role of Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP) chair to be accessible to people from all backgrounds it is necessary that:
- Payments are predictable, regular and timely
- Administration is simple and tax/ benefit implications are clear.
Options for paying the chair and any other service user officers include:
- Paying them via payroll as independent post holders
- Asking them to invoice as a self employed contractor
- Include payment of service user officers in the MVP support contract if an independent organisation is being commissioned to provide MVP support.
- Pay a budget into a community bank account for the MVP so that the service user leadership team can manage payments themselves.
The following table shows options for paying the chair and other service user officers, with some information about how these options work and an overview of potential benefits and risks of each.
|Payment mechanism||How does this work?||Benefits||Risks/disadvantages|
|Payroll||Service user officers paid via payroll as independent post holders. This is sometimes referred to as ‘employed for tax purposes’ i.e. treated as employed by HMRC but without a contract of employment. Expenses claimed via a standard employee claim form.
|– Can be set up within 2 months.
– Automated process minimises effort involved in making or receiving payments.- Payments are made on time.
|– May be less flexible than other arrangements for adjusting payments to time spent.|
|Self-employed contractors||Service user officers register as self-employed and invoice monthly or quarterly.||– May suit service users who are already self-employed.
– Can adjust payment to hours spent.
|– Can take months to register as a supplier, leading to a large payment in arrears which may impact benefits.
– Payments can be delayed.
|MVP support organisation||MVP support organisation follows its usual process for remunerating service users.||– The MVP support organisation may have expertise and processes set up already, with potential for more timely and reliable payments to service users.||– May increase costs when compared with processing payments in house or giving a budget to the service user leadership team.|
|Community bank account||Service user officers set up a bank account for the MVP and an agreed budget is paid into that. The service user leadership team pays service user officers from this account.||– Gives responsibility to service users.
– Flexible – adaptable to varying time spent by different service user officers.
|– Depends on the service user leadership team having budget management expertise.
– As MVP budgets grow, there may be concerns about whether the governance is sufficiently robust.
In most cases, the payment rate for an MVP chair or other service user in a responsible position is the NHS England role 4/ ‘expert advisor’ public involvement pay rate, currently £150/ day.
Maternity Voices Partnership funding bodies can take the following actions to support a wider range of people to get involved as MVP chairs:
- If possible be flexible about payment mechanisms – many people will need monthly payments and prefer to be on PAYE, though people who are currently self employed may prefer quarterly invoicing as a supplier.
- Make clear to people who are interested in the chair role what the payment arrangements are, advise them of the need to consider tax and benefit effects and support them to consider the implications in their personal circumstances.
- Fix monthly pay based on the MVP workplan and review whenever work required changes.
- Minimise administration for the chair e.g. by providing admin support to process claims.
- Set up payment within 2 months of a person starting in the role.
- Pay amounts due regularly and predictably ideally on the same date every month.
- Address any queries about payment promptly.
More detail on paying your MVP chair including managing any potential impact on benefits is available (PDF) on the National Maternity Voices website.
In order to make attending the MVP accessible to all, it will be necessary to have a clear process for claiming expenses. It is likely that the funding organisation will have an existing volunteer expenses policy that will be suitable for this.
Providers will need to provide the following evidence in order to comply with Safety Action 7 of the 21/22 Maternity Incentive Scheme:
“Written confirmation from the service user chair that they are being remunerated as agreed and that this remuneration reflects the time commitment and requirements of the role given the agreed work programme.”
“Written confirmation from the service user chair that they and other service user members of the MVP committee are able to claim out of pocket expenses, including childcare costs in a timely way.”