Recruiting user representatives
Guidelines for MSLC's suggest that an MSLC ideally should have one third user representatives. It is important that these representatives are prepared and supported to enable them to contribute effectively. You can find out more details in the National guidelines for maternity services liaison committees (MSLCs) Guidelines. Recruitment of user representatives can be thorough a number of means depending on the makeup of the local community. There are also statutory organisations that might assist in providing a user or public view to the Committee and whom should be involved and/or can support any consultation activity.
Overview and Scrutiny Committees (England only)
Overview and Scrutiny is a formal cross-party function of English local government. NHS organisations can be held to account by local committees, comprising back-bench who review provision of local services for value for money and responsiveness to the local community.
View the Local Authority (Overview and Scrutiny Committees Health Scrutiny Functions) Regulations 2002.
LINks (England only)
In 2008 Local involvement networks (LINks) replaced Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Forums and enable genuine involvement of a far greater number of people, ensuring local communities have a stronger voice in the process of commissioning health and social care and enabling them to influence key decisions about the services they both use and pay for.
Local authorities have a duty to make contractual arrangements for the involvement of people in the commissioning, provision and scrutiny of health and social care services.
For more information read the Government response to ‘A stronger local voice’
Voluntary Sector (UK wide)
A number of local and national voluntary sector organisations may be able to support recruitment and training of user representatives. Some of the main national bodies are listed below - many have local branches. Your local Council will also have lists of local organisations representing, for example, faith, cultural, locality or special interest groups such as disabled parents.
National Childbirth Trust (NCT)
Stillbirth and neonatal death charity
Disabled parents network
Association for Improvement in Maternity Services
Bliss the premature baby charity
Twins and Multiple Births association
La Leche breastfeeding support
Training and preparation
It is important that new user representatives are provided with proper support to enable them to contribute effectively. This should include provision of key documents and information, reimbursement of expenses and/or payment of an honorarium and funding/provision of appropriate training (see under "Guidelines and Standards" section for more on this)
The National Childbirth Trust (NCT) in particular provides a comprehensive package of resources and support for user representatives. For further information or to discuss how NCT can support health and social care providers to improve their maternity and young people’s outcomes, contact NCT on .