A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by Summit's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from Summit is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles

Highlighting best practice
Avril O’Sullivan MBE
Our offices in Clacton
on Sea
Founded in 1976, SUMMIT is the registered trading name of
Tendring Mental Health Support. SUMMIT’s stated mission
is to improve people’s lives by empowering them to take
back control, restore their self-belief, self-reliance, self-need
and self-worth. CEO Avril O’Sullivan discusses the success of
the SUMMIT Services launch, and explains how their range of
offerings are working in practice.
Our values
There are four key values that underpin the work SUMMIT undertake for individuals
with mental health issues and vulnerable adults. Firstly, all of our work is client-
centred. We put the people we work with at the centre of our focus. We are
patient and skilful listeners, who will help to get an individual’s voice heard.
Secondly, we ensure our approach is empowering, and we never limit someone’s
ambition. We enable them to develop skills and confidence, and to stand up for
their rights and regain control – creating a culture of enablement, not dependency.
Thirdly, being professional is vital in our work. We are committed to working in a
confidential and person-centred way, which entails being professional, respectful,
reliable, honest and independent. Lastly, we always retain independence. We
provide a professional advocacy service, which is able to maintain its independence
from service providers and commissioners and which works to ensure there is no
conflict of interest that could threaten the relationship between the service users
and the advocates.
»CEO: Avril O’Sullivan
»Founded in 1976
»Based in Clacton on Sea, Essex
»No. of employees: 10
»Services: Charity that supports
individuals with mental health
issues and vulnerable adults
SUMMIT Services
In March 2017, we launched SUMMIT
Services, a project funded by the Big
Lottery Fund. The whole programme has
been a great achievement and it was
much needed in these times of austerity.
It is with great pride that we have been
able to introduce a new and innovative
service for people in the Tendring area.
Our successful lottery bid has enabled
SUMMIT to deliver a wide range of
structured sessions aimed at improving
the quality of life for people with
mental illness and learning disabilities.
The variety of sessions include
mindfulness and meditation,
relaxation, art therapies, and healthy
body and healthy mind, and our
regular tea-and-toast sessions have
proved to be a popular choice
for local people. We have been
overwhelmed by the demand for our
duty advocacy, which assists with a
wide range of issues. Our Reaching
Out service is also in strong demand
and ensures that the most isolated
receive a service from SUMMIT and
can begin to take those small steps
towards inclusion. SUMMIT also
provides a variety of programmes
working with and for people with a
learning disability or mental ill-health.
We have been providing advocacy
navigation for adults in mid and
west Essex who have been referred
by the exceptional case panel to
seek a diagnosis of autistic spectrum
disorder (ASD). The advocates who
work on this service have extensive
knowledge of ASD and are all qualified
“Train the Trainers” in the National
Autistic Society’s “understanding and
supporting children and adults on the
autism spectrum”. This qualification
allows us to deliver training to others,
to provide families with an improved
understanding of autism and support
Our role has been identified to
provide support and advocacy through
the assessment process to ensure
reasonable adjustments and client
inclusion. Post-diagnosis we provide
time-limited support, working in a
person-centred way to ensure that
the individual has tailored support
to navigate complex issues that
are impacting on their quality of
life. This year we have supported
65 people with autism to access
the services they need, have their
views respected and their rights
and entitlements protected, and we
have supported them in maintaining
their employment. Wehave just
received a year’s funding to deliver
our latest addition to our portfolio of
services, the WRAP project (wellness
recovery action participation),
which works according to the peer
Developing our service
We are recruiting and training experts
by providing them with the necessary
experience to enhance wellbeing,
as well as navigating service users
through complex processes such
as obtaining appropriate universal
services that can support their
recovery within the community, while
reducing reliance on primary services.
Board of trustees
We have been
overwhelmed by
the demand for
our duty
advocacy, which
assists with a
wide range of
Highlighting best practice
Wearefacilitating groups and drawing
from the skills of SUMMIT Services to
deliver a support service aligned to the
This works extremely well with
vulnerable adults and the marginalised
citizens of Tendring such as the
unemployed, elderly, homeless and
those that self-medicate by using
drugs and alcohol. We are also
providing an appointment buddy
service. Peer advocates are volunteers
trained to work alongside people on a
long-term basis, therefore extending
the longevity of the programme. Peer
advocacy has had proven results:
when a person has a peer advocate
to confide in, to ask for assistance,
or to just unburden themselves, this
can result in a reduction in anxiety,
depression and dependency on drugs
and alcohol.
We have a very successful drama
group here at SUMMIT named
Changing Faces. The group provides
individuals with the opportunity
to discover hidden talents through
exploration of different aspects
of dramatic arts. Crafty Creations
is a relaxed arts and crafts group
held here at SUMMIT House,
which offers those who attend
the opportunity to be creative in
a safe environment. At SUMMIT,
all our advocates are qualified and
experienced professionals. The role
of the advocate has never been more
vital than in these times of austerity.
Good advocacy can stand up for the
vulnerable and influence positive
change. We see this here at SUMMIT
daily. SUMMIT is also a registered
Hate Incident Crime Reporting Centre
(HIRC) and all our staff and volunteers
are trained by the police, enabling
them to report hate crimes and to take
statements in a place people see as
safe and secure.
The SUMMIT team are proud of the
achievements they have made but
these would not be possible without
the support and guidance from our
board of trustees. Here at SUMMIT we
take a great pride in the services we
deliver. We work alongside our health
and social care colleagues to ensure
that the residents of Essex receive
a tailored, quality service second
We are
recruiting and
training experts
by providing
them with the
experience to
wellbeing, as
well as
service users
The SUMMIT team

This article was sponsored by Summit. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from The Rt Hon Theresa May MP.

The Rt Hon Theresa May MP's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By The Rt Hon Theresa May MP

This foreword from the then Prime Minister appeared in the 2018/19 Parliamentary Review.

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review. For Her Majesty’s Government, our task in the year ahead is clear: to achieve the best Brexit deal for Britain and to carry on our work to build a more prosperous and united country – one that truly works for everyone. 

The right Brexit deal will not be sufficient on its own to secure a more prosperous future for Britain. We also need to ensure that our economy is ready for what tomorrow will bring. Our Modern Industrial Strategy is our plan to do that. It means Government stepping up to secure the foundations of our productivity: providing an education system that delivers the skills our economy needs, improving school standards and transforming technical education; delivering infrastructure for growth; ensuring people have the homes they need in the places they want to live. It is all about taking action for the long-term that will pay dividends in the future.

But it also goes beyond that. Government, the private sector and academia working together as strategic partners achieve far more than we could separately. That is why we have set an ambitious goal of lifting UK public and private research and development investment to 2.4 per cent of GDP by 2027. It is why we are developing four Grand Challenges, the big drivers of social and economic change in the world today: harnessing artificial intelligence and the data revolution; leading in changes to the future of mobility; meeting the challenges of our ageing society; and driving ahead the revolution in clean growth. By focusing our efforts on making the most of these areas of enormous potential, we can develop new exports, grow new industries and create more good jobs in every part of our country.

Years of hard work and sacrifice from the British people have got our deficit down by over three quarters. We are building on this success by taking a balanced approach to public spending. We are continuing to deal with our debts, so that our economy can remain strong and we can protect people’s jobs, and at the same time we are investing in vital public services, like our NHS. We have set out plans to increase NHS funding annually by an average by 3.4 percent in real terms: that is £394 million a week more. In return, the NHS will produce a ten-year plan, led by doctors and nurses, to eliminate waste and improve patient care.

I believe that Britain can look to the future with confidence. We are leaving the EU and setting a new course for prosperity as a global trading nation. We have a Modern Industrial Strategy that is strengthening the foundations of our economy and helping us to seize the opportunities of the future. We are investing in the public services we all rely on and helping them to grow and improve. Building on our country’s great strengths – our world-class universities and researchers, our excellent services sector, our cutting edge manufacturers, our vibrant creative industries, our dedicated public servants – we can look towards a new decade that is ripe with possibility. The government I lead is doing all it can to make that brighter future a reality for everyone in our country. 

British politics provides ample material for analysis in the pages of The Parliamentary Review 
The Rt Hon Theresa May MP
Prime Minister