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CPPIH announces strengthened support for PPI Forums


The Commission for Patient and Public Involvement in Health (CPPIH) today announced new support arrangements which will ensure full backing for the coming year to allow Patient and Public (PPI) Involvement Forums to influence health decision making.


Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Forums are made up of groups of volunteers in the local community who are enthusiastic about helping patients and members of the public influence the way that local health care is organised and delivered. They receive administrative support from locally based Forum Support Organisations (FSOs).


The FSO system was an innovation devised by the CPPIH to involve the not- for- profit sector and use their knowledge, experience and existing contacts to support the 572 PPI Forums across England .


A performance review of all FSOs was undertaken this year with Forum member views central to the process. Almost 70% of FSOs were rated as good or very good by the Forum members they support.


As a result the CPPIH has offered 58 out of the existing 68 support organisations the opportunity to continue their groundbreaking work for a further 12 months (to 31 August 2006 ).


FSOs were given two-year contracts due to end 31 August 2005 . A number of these organisations chose to withdraw from providing future service and some were not offered contract extensions by the CPPIH.


Where support will change, alternative support providers are in place to support Forums from 1 September 2005 until 31 August 2006 .


The CPPIH invited current FSOs who had contracts extended for a third year, following their performance assessment, to bid to take on additional Forums.


The CPPIH practised what it preaches by ensuring members were fully involved in the process of selecting new support. Forum members were invited to join Local Assessment Panels set up to decide who would provide their future support.


This extension of involvement enabled them to see what other FSOs could offer to them.


A Forum member who attended an assessment panel in the North West said: “I was most impressed with the professionalism of the panel. The day was well run and our involvement made the whole process worthwhile. I am looking forward to meeting our new Forum Support Organisation”.


The CPPIH and incoming and outgoing FSOs are committed to ensuring the handover is as smooth as possible for the Forums.

The CPPIH Chief Executive Dr Steve Lowden said: - ” Forum members have played a major part in assessing the support that they receive. The renewed support can only strengthen the commendable work of PPI Forums. Partnering with not-for- profit organisations has brought invaluable knowledge and resources to the system which will be continued in the future.”


•  For further information contact CPPIH on 0121 222 4528 or 0121 222 4424






Notes to Editors



•  Forum Support Organisations (FSO) are not-for-profit organisations that were contracted through a competitive tendering process to support PPI Forums. These organisations, independent of the NHS, use their knowledge, experience and existing contacts within local communities to support PPI Forums.

•  Specifically Forum Support Organisations:

    •  Help CPPIH by supporting the recruitment and training of PPI Forums

    •  Help PPI Forums communicate with each other, the Commission and other external networks and organisations

    •  Arrange for information and guidance provided by the Commission to be available to the PPI Forums

    •  Help PPI Forums to monitor NHS services

    •  Help PPI Forums play an active role in health-related decision-making

    •  Provide administrative support to PPI Forums

•  The decision on whether to extend the contract of an FSO was based on four factors:

Views of PPI Forum members expressed through a questionnaire

Compliance of the FSO against key elements of the contract.

A n assessment of performance scored across a number of key criteria.

An assessment of financial compliance and competence carried out by our finance team.

The Forum member response accounted for 40% of the decision-making process - the single largest factor. The final three elements made up the remaining 60%.


•  In situations where it was not possible to negotiate an agreement with existing providers the CPPIH will provide In House support to Forums. This support will be subject to the same performance management and scrutiny as other FSO contracts.

•  PPI Forums gather views about health services and make recommendations, influencing NHS services. They monitor the quality of local services, and look at how wider issues such as social care, transport or housing, affect health.

•  CPPIH began work in January 2003, and the 572 Forums were in place with more than 4,000 members by 1 December 2003 . I t was announced in July 2004 that the CPPIH would be abolished and new arrangements would be put in place to support PPI Forums, as part of the Department of Health's review of its arm's length bodies

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