Tuesday, 26 June 2018

FOI response: Untapped Potential research #VOXScotland; £40K funding

Response today 26Jun18 from VOX Scotland to my FOI request about the Untapped Potential research funding:

"Dear Chrys,
Thank you for your email in relation to the Untapped Potential Report http://voxscotland.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/14183-Mental-Health-DRLL-Report-A4-Rev7.pdf

VOX, in partnership with the University of Strathclyde, the Mental Health Foundation and the Research Collective was awarded £40,000 in total fully from the Disability Research on Independent Living and Learning (DRILL). This was the world’s first major research programme led by disabled people which has disability related outcomes (agreed by the Big Lottery). 
The funding for the lived experience research collective (who created the questionnaire, wrote the report, and facilitated the focus group sessions) came to a total of £17,239.
The information about the focus groups, and statistics relating to the questionnaire are detailed within the report, together with the processes etc. Decisions about which areas we chose for focus groups were decided during a partnership steering group, and took into consideration a range of factors. The aim of the focus groups was to better understand the questionnaires findings.
Our aims and outcomes included for example, ensuring that people with lived experience were involved in the planning, preparation and facilitation of the research, and that the research itself identified barriers and developed recommendations to find solutions to those barriers.
Kind regards
Wendy
Wendy McAuslan
VOX’s Development Coordinator"

and my reply:

"Dear Wendy

Thanks for responding.

You say that the funding for the research collective came to £17,239, therefore I have to assume that the remainder of the £40K went to VOX, University of Strathclyde and MHF for management, governance etc?

I know that these amounts are peanuts compared to the funding that "scientific" academics receive in Scotland for Mental Health Research eg Prof Andy Gumley's Empower £1.5million project, the monies which Prof Stephen Lawrie and his colleagues at SMHRN/NRSMH  receive which amounts to millions.  In addition to their big salaries and other perks related to their positions.

However some of us are working for free to improve MH services in Scotland, it's even costing us to do so.  There's no money to be made in whistleblowing about psychiatric abuse or in advocating for people who are unable to speak up for themselves and/or may require the support of an independent voice.

Regards, Chrys

cc academics, civil servants"

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Here is an FOI request Email sent last night, 13 June 2018, after attending the Untapped Potential Launch at the Insight Institute, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, to Lee Knifton, Head of Scotland at the Mental Health Foundation and joint lead at the Centre for Health Policy:

"Dear Mr Knifton

This is an FOI request.

I attended today's launch of the Untapped Potential Report Launch, Public Life Matters, at the Insight Institute, and have some questions about this.

Firstly can you please send me a digital copy of this report, I didn't pick up the glossy report before leaving to catch my bus back to Fife and cannot find a copy anywhere online.  Thank you.

I would like to know the funding amounts for this research, where it came from, how much was awarded from each funder, the total amount.  I would also like a copy of expenditure, wages paid to researchers, amount spent on resources for undertaking research, an income and expenditure balance sheet.

Can you please send me details of the research processes and outcomes, statistics about questionnaires, focus groups, numbers attended, in which areas of Scotland, how people were chosen.  I live in Fife and there was no focus group here. 

Can you please confirm receipt of this request, thank you.

Regards, Chrys

cc Neil Quinn; Wendy McAuslan"

Chrys Muirhead
Safe Houses for Psychosis
writer, researcher, activist; cyclist, photographer, gardener, swimmer



BA Admin Management (best student); Postgrad Dip Community Education; Postgrad Cert TQFE (care subjects, 2008 Stirling University)​
@ChrysMuirhead

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Tweets from Untapped Potential Launch:




Last night on twitter I heard from a fellow Mother Carer who had also been at the launch and had read through the research report:

"From such a tiny sample of 249 Qrs & 20 participating in focus group over 6 areas in Scotland (average 3 per location) that authors of #UntappedPotential have determined that their 19 recommendations are correct to publish for the whole of SCOTLAND!!!

and 

"That was actually another thing I noted that for all the transparency & stretching of data to craft it into the glossy publication no mention of how much money was allocated 4 this lightweight research & what financial gain did 7 authors receive!

This spurred me on to make the FOI request to find out more information.  I was disappointed with the event, hadn't realised beforehand that the "research collective" was more of the same folk (usual suspects) with links to VOX Scotland, including their Development Co-ordinator Wendy McAuslan who project managed the research. 


I also had concerns about the way that people shared their personal experiences, disclosing.  I used to describe this as being a "performing monkey", having been in that position many years ago, manipulated by the organ grinder or paid worker.  It felt yesterday that we were going back not forward, in terms of MH user/survivor research.





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