DDN July_Aug_2022 DDN July/August 2022 | Page 24




We should value lived experience at its true worth , heard the APPG

‘ drug strategy values the voice of lived experience ,’ John Murray of With You told the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Drugs , Alcohol and Justice . But we had to bear in mind that some of these people had had poor experiences of drug services in the past . So how did they fit in to the recovery process ? The government ’ s recovery champion , Ed Day , said his role was to encourage greater partnership working , which needed to be accompanied by an understanding that ‘ the course of dependence and the achievement of stable recovery can take a long time ’.

Partnership working was about parity of esteem , said Tim Sampey of peer-led organisation Build on Belief ( BoB ), who drew on his own personal experiences as well as those of his organisation .
BoB ’ s work aimed to complement the local treatment system , but at the heart of it ‘ the social space is incredibly important ,’ he said . We were ‘ tribal creatures ’ who benefited greatly from the concept of mutual aid – helping each other .
Many of the big service providers had worked with his organisation , which hadn ’ t always been successful , he said . But one big positive was that lived experience was being ‘ inch by inch embedded ’.
Alex Boyt asked how recovery was measured – relating to the statement that half of people achieve recovery – and Day referred to the work of William White in this area . Boyt made
the point that most people with living experience were still using drugs or alcohol , and that keeping people alive was the main thing . ‘ Focusing on recovery instead of keeping people alive is an issue in services ,’ he said . ‘ We tend to use the experience of those who make progress .’
Lived experience should guide the treatment system , ‘ and not in a tokenistic way ’, said Sunny Dhadley . He was concerned about the exploitation of people with lived experience – ‘ they ’ re not there to prop up the workforce ’. He also wanted to know what was happening to people who left the treatment sector to work elsewhere – were there people to support them ?
Day , whose main role was as a doctor working in the NHS , said the NHS needed to engage better with people with lived experience and respect and reward their round-the-clock dedication . Supporting people to set up and run peer-led organisations deserved a ringfenced part of the budget , he said , together with an investment in mentoring roles .
The value of peer engagement was confirmed by others , including former chief inspector Jason Kew who mentioned the ‘ speed of engagement ’ achieved by involving people with lived experience . But there was concern at the lack of awareness by professionals , including GPs , of recovery organisations and all they could offer , and a feeling that this valuable resource was not yet being recognised , used properly , or rewarded . DDN


Let ’ s turn the energy into evidence , says the CLERO

We had a fantastic day at the DDN conference , and to join our LERO voices with the service user lived experience voice was amazing . It was great to hear Ed Day and Rosanna O ’ Connor talking about the opportunities of the Dame Carol Black report and the new OHID monies and how lived experience is essential in delivering and implementing the new drug strategy .

We look forward to building on the relationship between the College of Lived Experience Recovery Organisations ( CLERO ) and DDN to bring a united lived experience voice to enable change , so we can create better services for everyone while evidencing the work we all do .
In the modern world of treatment for people with a substance use disorder , it ’ s all about this evidence base , isn ’ t it ? If the evidence says something works , OST for example , then we would be foolish not to continue its provision . However , the lack of an evidence base leaves some parts of the system twisting in the wind – recovery support services and LEROs to name but two . We know what we do is a vital component of the wider system , and we know it works . We just don ’ t have an evidence base to back it up – and what little we do have is mostly qualitative . Nevertheless , qualitative evidence is a good place to start .
One of the first pieces of work undertaken by the CLERO was to agree a set of standards with the membership that could be adopted by LEROs big and small across the country . It was both fascinating and encouraging to realise that in many cases these standards were already the basis on which many LEROs were founded and run – we ’ d just never talked about them or written them down !
We ’ re currently collating examples of how individual LEROs implement a given standard across the UK and intend to produce a report showing the variety of ways in which they are implemented – our first step on the long road to a LERO evidence base .
So we ’ re asking LEROs across the country to pick a single standard and write a short piece about how they implement it in their day-today work . It doesn ’ t have to be an essay – a simple ‘ one pager ’ will suffice . If you wish to contribute to this paper please pick a standard , write your blog and email it to us ( address below ).
Alternatively , if you wish to have a copy of the standards , or an example of matching practice to standards , please email us at the same address . Don ’ t forget to include the name of your organisation and a logo if you have one . Together , we can evidence that LEROs nationwide provide many thousands of hours of recovery support , delivered to high quality and person-centred standards .
Demonstrating our belief in good practice , the paper will not be made public until every contributor has signed it off !
Contact the College of Lived Experience Recovery Organisations ( CLERO ) at lero . connectors @ gmail . com