The College Engagement Network

The College Engagement Network (CEN) in England is a new initiative designed to improve the way the College gathers insight from and engages with our members at a local level to help inform our policy and campaigning work.

It will ultimately serve to help us influence national mental health policy development, and to support our members to advocate for College policy at a local level. The input we gather from working with members will ensure that our own understanding of local policy implementation reflects the insight of frontline healthcare staff and people with mental illness.

How does the CEN work?

The CEN is the first network of its kind launched by a medical Royal College. It will be led by its members, who will be representatives from mental health trusts in England, and from the College Divisions. The representatives will work closely with local stakeholders, including people with mental illness, and help to develop collaboration across their region.

The advice of the College divisions, members, mental health trust Medical Directors, service users, and other stakeholders have been sought in developing the network, and we will continue to seek their views as the network grows and evolves.

Where is the CEN operating?

The CEN has now been launched across all mental health trusts and College regional divisions across England, following an evaluation of the pilot phase which took place in the Eastern, North West, and London regions throughout 2021.

What will the CEN focus on?

The network focus is on the implementation of the NHS Long Term Plan in England. While the network is still growing, we want to ensure focus on one aligned area to help us understand the impact we’re having and ensure that discussions taking place through the network are focused and detailed.

We agreed the Community Mental Health Framework (CMHF) as the initial focus area for the network. The CMHF rollout is one of the biggest areas of investment under the Mental Health Implementation Plan, and is relevant to members across our faculties.

All Integrated Care Systems across England are now rolling out the CMHF. We will be following progress on this through the network, working out what these changes mean for psychiatric practice and mental health services more broadly.

We have developed eight key messages on the CMHF, for clinicians to use to help inform work they might be doing around community transformation. We originally developed these messages in 2020, but have refreshed them for 2021, to help support clinical engagement in ongoing planning for the CMHF rollout.

How will it have an impact and support our work?

We hope that we can use the information gathered and communicated through the network to:

  • understand how implementing the CMHF is going in every local area where we have a CEN representative appointed
  • understand regional perspectives on community transformation through representation from our College divisions
  • use the insight we’ve gathered to help inform our national level conversations with relevant stakeholders
  • communicate guidance out locally to each area where we have a representative
  • understand how local areas are implementing these changes and how they’re planning to support psychiatrists to help deliver the new models of care.

How can I get involved?

We are recruiting members to the network through NHS mental health trusts in England and via the College Divisions, and to keep the network manageable we are only recruiting one member for each organisation. However, we would be interested to hear from those who would like to find out more, be kept up to date, or have particular expertise in working at ICS level.

We will also keep this webpage up to date, and share more information as the network evolves.

To find out more about the CEN, please contact

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