As the work of the Maternity Voices Partnership (MVP) develops, it will be important to keep the budget and workload under review and to ensure that these are aligned. It is reasonable to expect that the budget will increase as the MVP becomes more established and takes on additional responsibilities and there needs to be a process for reviewing this. It will be helpful to design your planning and budgeting cycle so that the work planning process takes place in time to feed into budget discussions for the coming year.
It is vital that the MVP’s budget is agreed well in advance of the start of the financial year, so that members of the service user leadership team (e.g. Chair and Vice-chair) have clarity about what they can expect in terms of working hours and payment. Any uncertainty or hiatus in payments will make it very difficult for those on low incomes to stay involved.
It is not appropriate for the chair or other MVP service user officers to be expected to do significant amounts of voluntary work as part of their role. The evidence requirement for Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts Safety Action 7 was strengthened for 21/22 and now includes:
“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.”
It is common for new requests to be made of MVPs mid-year, for example in response to unforeseen events or new national/regional initiatives. There needs to be a process for ensuring that sufficient funding for any additional asks is agreed efficiently.