4.1 Strengthening and sustaining your team

As your Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP) becomes more established and well-known in your community, you will receive more enquiries and invitations and it’s likely that the workload for the service user leadership team (e.g. Chair and Vice-chair) and the support team will grow. You may want to keep this under review and to consider whether you need to resource additional capacity to keep up with the increasing expectations. This increase in resources is to be expected as your MVP starts to achieve more and it would make sense to plan for this. You could consider:

  • recruiting to additional service user roles
  • increasing the hours of your existing team members if they have capacity to take on more
  • providing additional support from NHS staff
  • providing additional training or mentoring support

You may be starting to think about succession planning. When it’s time to find a new chair or vice-chair, appointment can proceed as outlined in section 2.7 above. This time round, it’s likely that you will have one or more strong candidates from within your existing service user membership which creates the possibility of greater continuity. If you can plan, and resource, the handover so that there is a period of overlap between your existing and new chair, this will help to ensure the work programme can proceed smoothly. This handover period will be even more important if you appoint someone who is not already a member of your MVP.

You may also want to plan for the possibility of a member of your service user leadership team going on maternity leave. While some MVP chairs or other service user members may be keen to resume their MVP chair work quite quickly after having a baby, even then it would make sense for another service user member to take on some additional hours during this time.

While MVP members generally work well together in partnership, occasionally one or more members of an MVP may express concerns about the conduct or capability of the MVP chair or a member of the service user leadership team. National Maternity Voices has developed some guidance (currently being finalised) on what to do if this problem arises in your MVP.