“Staying native”: coproduction in mental health services research

Steve Gillard (Division of Mental Health, St George's University of London, London, UK)
Kati Turner (Division of Mental Health, St George's University of London, London, UK)
Kathleen Lovell (Division of Mental Health, St George's University of London, London, UK)
Kingsley Norton (West London Mental Health NHS Trust, Southall, UK)
Tom Clarke (South West London and St George's Mental Health NHS Trust, Springfield University Hospital, London, UK)
Rachael Addicott (The King's Fund, London, UK)
Gerry McGivern (Department of Management, King's College, London, UK)
Ewan Ferlie (Department of Management, King's College, London, UK)

International Journal of Public Sector Management

ISSN: 0951-3558

Publication date: 24 August 2010



The purpose of this paper is to describe a recent experiment in research coproduction in an evaluation of service planning at a London Mental Health NHS Trust. The paper aims to consider whether members of the research team who have themselves been users of mental health services are able to contribute to the research process as “experts by experience”, or if their experiential knowledge is “colonized” within the academic research team.


A qualitative, comparative case study approach was adopted, using structured observations and semi‐structured interviews. Researchers' reflective accounts and a reflective focus group were employed to explore the process of coproduction.


The paper concludes that, far from “colonising” expertise by experience, the experiment builds local capacity in research coproduction and usefully informs a service planning process that reflects the priorities and concerns of a range of stakeholders.

Research limitations/implications

The paper describes a small, local experiment in research coproduction and so findings are limited in their scope. However, the study demonstrates an effective methodological approach to evaluating, empirically, the impact of coproduction on the health services research (HSR) process.

Practical implications

The paper demonstrates the potential for repeated exercises in coproduction to build capacity in collaborative approaches to both HSR and service planning.


The involvement of experts by experience is increasingly a policy requirement in the domains of both health service planning and HSR in the UK. There are very few empirical studies that evaluate the impact of that coproduction.



Gillard, S., Turner, K., Lovell, K., Norton, K., Clarke, T., Addicott, R., McGivern, G. and Ferlie, E. (2010), "“Staying native”: coproduction in mental health services research", International Journal of Public Sector Management, Vol. 23 No. 6, pp. 567-577. https://doi.org/10.1108/09513551011069031

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