Why should funding for one type of training affect ALL people who work as LXPs (Lived Experience Professionals) in the English NHS? KUF (Knowledge & Understanding Framework) training funding sticks a flag in the sand, it sets a standard for equality of pay, working conditions, support and CPD (Continuing Professional Development. Now we have funding for senior LXP posts, trusts can’t get away with saying there is no funding or pathway for career progression. If they don’t want to use one form of training, fine – but there is no excuse to replace it with one that exploits us instead.
We have had some interest in the Freedom of Information request we made recently to NHS England asking which Trusts applied or did not apply for this funding. Some people have raised the issue that the funding was only for a specific Band 7 post – an Advanced KUF Lead. KUF training is a specificly developed to improve the way that staff work with people with Complex Emotional Needs’ aka ‘Personality Disorder’ and to improve service user’s experiences whilst in services. The training is entirely co-produced from awareness through to MSc level, with LXPs paid equally to colleagues – hence the Band 7 post.
Not all NHS Trusts choose to offer this training. The key word here is choice – they could if they wanted to. Some have chosen to develop their own training instead, choosing to employ or not employ LXPs to do so. This has been the case in Birmingham, where unpaid service users developed an alternate training, being paid a daily £20 expenses fee. This fee extended to delivery of training to staff groups. This training replaced KUF, where LXP trainers were paid £300 a day to deliver training sessions. LXPs were not consulted on this change, service users were not told about the existence of LXPs, of the existing co-produced training and the professional value of the work. They also did not know that their work as unpaid service users would result in putting paid LXPs out of work. This is what has inspired the activism in Birmingham.
Other NHS Trusts who have rejected funding and have decided not to use KUF training may have perfectly adequate alternative approaches that employ, support and pay LXPs equally to the KUF model. Some may have better, more supportive and highly paid approaches.
The key point is this: For NHS Trusts who did not accept the funding, have you made this decision with LXPs, and are they aware you have made this decision for them? Have you put in place funding for alternative Band 7 posts, if you do not want to uptake the KUF model?
Not having the infrastructure, ability or support is no longer a good enough excuse. If you do not have the expertise to do this yourselves – hot tip – you won’t – you will need to employ external LXP consultants to come in and help you do it. Then you will need to employ senior, strategic level LXPs to do the work of leading the development of the infrastructure. It’s not within the gift or skillset of non-LXP staff to do it – which is why you haven’t done it yet.
The FOI request itself goes beyond asking for names of trusts that have and haven’t uptaken the funding, it also asks for reasons given (see below). Once we have the details of NHS Trusts who haven’t uptaken the funding, the next stage will be to send an FOI request to each trust individually asking why this was, if LXPs were involved in the decision, if alternate band 7+ posts are planned. This will ensure the research is balanced in terms of having a wider picture of which trusts are making a commitment to employing LXPs in senior posts and which aren’t, as the funding application in itself does not provide this information.
We are also hoping to reach LXPs from each NHS Trust to invite them to join this stage of the research.
Viva La Revolution!!!
This week’s update is there is no update. At least, that’s the update we’ve received through WhatDoTheyKnow.com, the site that we’ve used to make our Freedom of Information request. If you ever want to make a FOI request, you can do it direct to the organisation, but we’ve decided to use this website because it records the FOI request on the website, so that the request and the Trust’s response is publicly available. We feel that if more people start asking FOI requests through the website, it will provide publicly available data to help LXP’s evidence conditions, pay, career progression and examples of discrimination.