Client Forum update:
We held our first meeting of our client forum on Wednesday 28th April 2021. Our sincere thanks to everyone who gave up their time to attend.
We received some very positive feedback about the services we provide, as well as some very useful comments about how we could improve, as follows:
- Some clients said that being asked to fill in questionnaires at every session wasn’t helpful and took up valuable time. We explained that this is part of the contract we hold with the funder of the service (Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group) so isn’t something we can just stop doing. But we will work with our counsellors and provide them with training on how to make better use of these questionnaires, to make sure they are a useful part of counselling.
- Some clients said that the number of sessions they were offered was not enough. We explained that we need to put a limit on the number of sessions to help us offer counselling to as many people as possible, without waiting lists building up too much. But we know that Sunderland CCG are currently drawing up their strategy for mental health services in Sunderland so we committed to making sure that this feedback is considered as part of that work.
Our next forum will be held in July 2021. If you are interested in attending, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Objectives of Client Forum:
- To consider client feedback and identify opportunities for improvement in our services.
- To consider and improve our service literature, website and marketing / publicity materials.
- To review our policies and procedures.
- To review proposals for service changes, development of new or extended services and identification of any unmet needs.
- To provide input into funding bids and service development / design and explore ways to improve and widen access to our services.
- To consider ways in which clients can become more involved in the operations of Sunderland Counselling Service, such as involvement in recruitment, involvement in training as experts by experience or representing the organisation externally.
It is important to state that the forum will be advisory in nature. Sunderland Counselling Service values the input of all clients and staff but is under no obligation to act on any or all recommendations or proposals from the forum. Sunderland Counselling Service does, however, commit to consider and respond to all recommendations and proposals.
The forum is not:
- A support group – any clients joining the forum need to be able to take care of themselves and contribute appropriately to the forum.
- An appreciation society – Sunderland Counselling Service needs a healthy balance between due praise and constructive challenge.
- An exclusive or elite group – Sunderland Counselling Service is mindful that the group should be representative of our varied client groups.
- A way to gain rights or privileges around accessing and approaching the service.
- A forum to pursue complaints or compliments about the service provided to individuals – any complaints / compliments received should be dealt with via the relevant procedures.
- The Service User Forum will meet quarterly.
- Working groups will be established as necessary and frequency of meetings agreed.
- Meetings will be advertised at least one month in advance.
- Chair: Chief Executive of Sunderland Counselling Service (or a nominated deputy).
- Clinical Lead
- Service Manager
- Any current or past client of Sunderland Counselling Service who has either started or completed therapy with the service.
- Clients who are on a waiting list for a second or subsequent episode of treatment will be able to join the forum, on the basis that they have received a service from Sunderland Counselling Service.
- Participants do not need to commit to attend multiple meetings
- Each meeting is an open group
- Participants must sign up to the forum in advance
- The forum will be publicised in advance and an agenda produced.
- The agenda will always include space for any other business so that participants have the opportunity to raise any issues that are not already covered.
- If participants wish to remain as members of the forum once they have finished using our services will be welcome to do so
- A representative of Sunderland Counselling Service board of trustees will attend the forum at least twice a year.
- A representative of the forum will be invited to attend board meetings at least twice a year.
For more information or to become a member of this group, please email email@example.com or call 0191 5147007.
A simple group agreement will be prepared in advance of the first meeting and agreed at the first meeting to clarify the expectations and responsibilities of all present. This will be displayed and reviewed at each meeting.
Date approved by Sunderland Counselling Service Board: 27th February 2020
Date for review: 26th February 2021
Aims of Client Forum:
- To engage with adult clients who use any of the services provided by Sunderland Counselling Service and to improve our communication with our clients.
- To benefit from clients’ experience of using our services so that we can improve the quality of our service delivery.
- To draw on the range of clients’ expertise to assist the development of the organisation.
- To encourage the participation of our clients more meaningfully in the organisation.
- To reflect and demonstrate our commitment to our clients expressed in the BACP Ethical Framework.