The Non-professionally Affiliated (NPA) Worker as Co-producer of Public Services: How is the Role Experienced in UK Mental Health Services?

Stephen Procter, Deborah Harrison, Pauline Pearson, Claire Dickinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Abstract

Recent workforce reforms have led to the widespread expansion of non-professionally affiliated (NPA) support and assistant roles within UK public services. Research into these roles has been confined to a limited range of settings, with a focus on the consequence of change for professional workers. This article explores the emergence of ‘co-production’, whereby NPA workers contribute alongside the professional in a distinct, complementary way. Findings are drawn from semi-structured interviews with front-line workers and managers within the context of mental health workforce reform. The results build a picture of NPA working life characterised in part by autonomy and responsibility. At the same time, NPA workers rely on colleagues for support and are subject to being used indirectly by professionals. Contextual influences are considered. The conceptual implications of the analysis are brought out, both for the NPA role itself and for the broader issues involved in front line service work.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-226
JournalIndustrial Relations Journal
Volume49
Issue number3
Early online date7 Jun 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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