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Brighton and Hove Common Ambition

Raising the voice of people with experience of homelessness

Arch is very proud to be a partner on a unique project, Brighton and Hove’s Common Ambition – bringing together people with lived experience of homelessness, frontline providers, and commissioners, with the aim of improving health services and outcomes for people facing homelessness in Brighton and Hove.

Central to the project is co-production, which operates on the premise that those who use a service are best placed to offer insights as to how it could be improved. This goes against the usual hierarchical nature of large-scale projects, and blurs the boundaries between delivering and receiving a service.

How a co-produced project works:

  • Those who use the services are in charge of shaping those services, from the beginning of the project to the end
  • The project leader’s main role is to bring people with lived experience together with others in the sector (frontline workers, commissioners, directors, academics) in order to work together

At the heart of Common Ambition is its Steering Group made up of people with lived experience of homelessness, as well as staff members from Arch Healthcare, Justlife and the University of Brighton. The group has co-produced a number of resources, in the following areas: developing effective co-production practices; system review; service design; training; advocacy and campaigning. These are all available to view on the co-produced Common Ambition website

View website
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Co-production and the CQC

The importance of co-production is highlighted by the CQC. Their report states:

“Putting the patient at the centre of the quality improvement (QI) journey sharpens the focus on delivering high-quality patient care and aligning improvement activity to outcomes and experience for patients. To deliver this, patients must be involved and enabled as true and equal partners for QI.”

“There are several trusts that are further along the journey to embedding improvement culture, where effective improvement-focused leadership has engaged, empowered and enabled staff, patients and carers in improving services. We have seen this approach reflected in achieving outstanding ratings.”


Arch CQC rating

Brighton and Hove’s Common Ambition steering group with lived experience of homelessness have illustrated the experience of co-production, provided snapshots of their work, and described their journey in a co-produced project, in a series of powerful blogs, available to read here.

Steering Group member Jude’s blog, for example, offers an illuminating insight into the group’s working processes and the importance of having choice over whether to deal with upsetting topics: those who have experienced the trauma of becoming homeless have a unique insight on how to improve things, but this in itself can be a traumatic process. The group deals with difficult topics when co-producing improvements to housing and health systems that affect them personally, through Check-in, Choice and Control.

“At BHCA we all look out for each other, but we’re also empowered to look after ourselves. We deal with some hard hitting topics and although there will never be a perfect system where we can mitigate every trigger, our trauma-informed approach helps to keep everyone safe and happy.” 

Read Jude's blog in full
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