4Pi Involvement Standards

4Pi is a framework for the involvement of service users and carers - in our own care, in our communities, in service delivery and evaluation and in organisational governance and strategy.

  • 4Pi is a simple framework on which to base standards for good practice, and to monitor and evaluate involvement.
  • The framework builds on the work on many people: mental health service users and carers and others who have lived and breathed involvement and shared their experiences in various ways, both written and unwritten.
  • Meaningful involvement means making a difference: it should improve services and improve the mental health, wellbeing and recovery of everyone experiencing mental distress.

Developed by people with lived experience as part of the National Involvement Partnership (NIP) project, the 4Pi National Standards ensure effective co-production, thus improving experiences of services and support. They were formally launched at the NSUN AGM 29 January 2013.

4Pi was the result of an NSUN hosted project, the National Involvement Partnership (NIP), which was funded by the Department of Health (Innovation, Excellence, Strategic Development) voluntary sector funding. The aim of the three year project was to strengthen and 'hard-wire' involvement in to the planning, delivery and evaluation of the services and support we use for our mental health and wellbeing needs.

This framework established some basic principles to encourage people to think of involvement in terms of principles, purpose, presence, process and impact (4Pi).

The 4Pi National Involvement Standards continue to influence people beyond the boundaries of NSUN. We have a long list of articles, newsletters, resources and websites where 4Pi has received a mention or recommendation - even receiving international acclaim! Our Reality and Impact report a couple of years ago showed that the standards are well-used.

The Five Year Forward View for Mental Health describes 4Pi as a framework that ‘...will help ensure services and interventions are accessible and appropriate for people of all backgrounds, ages and experience’ and should support CQC inspection of ‘the quality of co-production in individual care planning, carer involvement and in partnership with communities to develop and improve mental health services.’

Statement of intent:

Our vision is of ‘nothing about us without us’. Meaningful involvement for us means involvement that makes a difference: it should improve services and improve the mental health, wellbeing and recovery of everyone experiencing mental distress.


Meaningful and inclusive involvement depends on a commitment to shared principles and values. This includes valuing the contribution of service users and carers equally to those of professionals.


The purpose of involvement should be clear and clearly communicated to everyone involved in the activity as well as the wider organisation.


A diversity of service users and carers should be involved at all levels and all stages of an organisation or project. The people who are involved should reflect the nature and purpose of the involvement. Service users and carers should have the opportunity to be involved separately as they may have different priorities.


The process of involvement needs to be carefully planned in terms of issues like recruitment, communications, being offered appropriate support and training and payment, so that service users and carers, including those from marginalised communities, can get involved easily and make the best possible contribution.


For involvement to be meaningful, it needs to make a difference to the lives or the experiences of service users and carers. This means we will be clear about the purpose of involvement, the individuals and groups who will be present and their role in the process. That process and the desired impact of involvement will be explained from beginning to end. When a particular piece of work is complete we will feed-back on what has been achieved to those involved. By working to the 4PI Framework we will make the best of working together which should improve outcomes for all.