“The strategic partnership board of the Local Maternity System should include Maternity Voices Partnership representation.”
“We consider it imperative that family voices are strongly and effectively represented in each LMS through the Maternity Voices Partnerships.”
In most areas, the LMS will cover a wider geographical area than the maternity service providers and so there are likely to be multiple Maternity Voices Partnerships within the LMS area. In some LMSs, all the local MVP chairs attend LMS board meetings. In other areas, one or two MVP chairs attend the meetings to represent the group of MVP chairs. Which of these options is selected may depend on:
- The number of MVPs in the LMS (with a larger number it may feel impractical to have all chairs attending)
- How many other attendees are there at the LMS board meetings (e.g. do all Heads of Midwifery (HoMs) attend, or does one person represent the group of HoMs)?
- How wide is the geographical area covered by the LMS (i.e. is it difficult for MVP chairs to get to the meetings?)
- How well resourced are the MVPs? (a better-resourced MVP is more likely to have capacity for direct involvement at LMS level)
Some MVP chairs may delegate responsibility for attending LMS meetings to their vice-chair or another member of the service user leadership team. It could, for example, be a role that suits an experienced service user rep or former MVP chair.
The LMS may also invite the group of MVPs to nominate chairs or service user members to attend LMS workstream meetings.
However the representation of MVPs is arranged, what matters is that all MVP chairs are kept up-to-date about the work of the LMS and that they all know how to feed in or to get issues addressed at LMS level.
Some ways the LMS can facilitate MVP involvement include:
- a member of LMS staff attending MVP meetings to hear the issues being discussed and make connections with any LMS work
- for the first step in any project to be asking service users’ views through the MVPs
- The LMS chair to offer pre-meetings with service user chairs/reps if desired prior to formal meetings in order to answer any questions about the agenda.
- Be flexible about how service users feed in and ask local MVP chairs what will work best for them.
MVP chairs across the Local Maternity System will work closely together to coordinate input to the LMS and to collaborate on shared issues. This may be formally coordinated by the LMS link person for the MVPs.
The LMS generally agrees the funding for MVP involvement in LMS work. The LMS and commissioner will need to work together to ensure that the overall funding is sufficient for the amount of work being expected of MVP service user leadership teams (e.g. Chairs and Vice-chairs) and that the process for service users to be remunerated and to claim expenses is straightforward.