Open Public Services Network

thersa.org

The Open Public Services Network (OPSN) is a programme based at the RSA providing independent assessment of government and public services performance data. OPSN works to improve the debate surrounding the quality and value of information available to the public about key services.

ZPB is responsible for overall programme management of the OPSN. The most recent project examined mental health services in the UK, looking at variations in mortality and morbidity rates for people with poor mental health in local areas. This is the first time mortality rates for the whole population (under 75) and people with severe mental illness (SMI) have been published side-by-side. The findings revealed that GPs are often not referring people with SMI for key physical health tests, contributing to high levels of mortality among this vulnerable group.

We created a website called Living a long life? that allows mental health service users to track how the service they receive compares to the rest of the country, providing actionable advice and encouraging engagement. The project received widespread coverage on the BBC and reached over 367,000 people on Twitter.

Responding to the OPSN work Paul Farmer, Chief Executive of Mind said:

Living a long life? shines a light on the desperate need for the physical health needs of people with mental health problems to be effectively met. It is a wake-up call for government and local commissioners to ensure they have accurate data on health outcomes for people with mental health problems and provide the vital services and support needed for people to live a full and healthy life.”

ZPB programme managed the project, this included:

  • Shaping the research and data analysis
  • Commissioned Mind to run focus groups to gain insight into how service users would use the website
  • Convened an expert panel which included Geraldine Strathdee, National Clinical Director for Mental Health
  • Developed a microsite with the RSA to present data digitally
  • Wrote and launched the report

To date, we’ve run three projects for the OPSN, these have included assessing the value and accessibility of information about the quality of teaching in secondary schools, and highlighting how a pupil’s academic choices are affected by where they live.

What we do