17. Preparing organisations for peer support
Peer support is more than the employment of people with lived experience in paid support roles; it is the employment of people who share some of the experiences of people using services (peers) specifically to draw on these shared experiences and ways they have found to live well (their experiential knowledge) – to provide support based on shared understandings, mutual problem solving, a belief in the possibility of recovery, and time together to find hope, solutions and connections.
17 ImROC Preparing Organisations PSW Briefing Paper outlines how organisations can enable PSWs to work to their full potential, to give careful consideration to the role: why are they PSWs? Who are they seeking to employ and how will recruitment and selection ensure that this is achieved? What is the role of PSWs? Where are they going to be employed to enable them to fulfil this role? How will they be supported, supervised and developed within the organisation? What structures are needed to enable them to have a collective voice so that they can influence improvements in the quality and effectiveness of services?
This guidance draws on research and guidance papers as well as the experience of PSWs and employers from NHS, Local Authority, third sector and voluntary sector organisations. It begins with the reasons why organisations might employ PSWs and why organisational preparation is so important, and goes on to provide guidance for organisations including: managers, team members/colleagues, Human Resources and Occupational Health, Learning and Development provision (for all staff), peer
supervision and support.
ImROC offers a range of peer support training and consultancy. We support organisations to employ peers within their workforce and train Peer Support Workers for their new role.