New charter pledges involvement in services

Health authorities and charities from across North Wales have signed a new charter pledging to involve people with experience of alcohol, drug and mental health issues in the delivery of their services.

The guarantee sees the Welsh Government, Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, North Wales Area Planning Board for Substance Misuse, CAIS and Hafal commit to accountability, equality and fair play for people who are living with or who have a history of substance misuse or poor mental health.

It was signed by representatives of the five bodies at the official launch of Caniad – the new combined voice for mental health and substance misuse involvement in North Wales.  Caniad seeks to harness the experience of those living with mental health or addiction issues to help improve treatment and support – and will allow the users of services to become involved in their planning, commissioning, design, delivery and evaluation throughout North Wales.

Share your views on the future of mental health services in North Wales by taking part in a consultation led by Caniad

A governing panel has already been established, while around 200 people with direct experience had an input into the development of the new Caniad charter.



It’s expected that the charter will become a kitemark for quality and excellence in the sector.

Caniad manager Denise Charles said: “We were delighted to be joined by so many partners at our launch, and to gather signatures from organisations committed to effective involvement for people with a background of adverse mental health and substance misuse.

“We now look forward to growing the network of individuals who want to contribute to our work, promoting involvement, sharing best practice, and providing expert advice to stakeholders and third sector providers across North Wales.”


Better health and wellbeing

Caniad was commissioned by BCUHB and the North Wales Area Planning Board for Substance Misuse in January – and aims to deliver better health and wellbeing for the users of alcohol, drug and mental health services, their carers and their communities.

The service – which is hosted by CAIS and Hafal – will ensure consistency across the health board area, minimise the risk of duplication, and create an effective partnership between those using services and those delivering and commissioning them.

Caniad is already undertaking a consultation over the future of mental health services in North Wales ahead of the development of a new strategy by BCUHB.

People with experience of mental health services and their families and carers can contribute by clicking here


Effective, accessible, sympathetic

CAIS chief executive Clive Wolfendale said: “The best people to shape effective services are those using them.  We are pleased to support statutory agencies in ensuring that patients and clients receive a service which is safe, accessible and sympathetic.”

Hafal chief executive Alun Thomas said: “We were delighted to be at the launch of Caniad, a vital service which is user-led and developed. And we are thrilled to be working in partnership with CAIS in delivering this initiative as this has created exciting new ways of shared working – both between the two organisations and with our statutory partners in North Wales.

“Caniad ensures the people who use services and their carers are integral to the planning, commissioning, design, delivery and evaluation of those services. As the project grows, we look forward to developing existing and new forums across North Wales, and promoting equity in services for users and carers.”


Real difference

Lesley Singleton, head of strategy and partnership for the mental health division within BCUHB, said: “Partnerships like this are absolutely vital in ensuring people with experience of services and ideas about how they should look in the future receive the support, guidance and opportunity to be fully involved.

“By collaborating with users, patients and carers we can ensure services are tailored to meet specific needs.

“We’re delighted to be supporting the Caniad project, and hope it will make a real difference to service users and carers across North Wales.”