Request for Tender

Analysis and Guide on Effective Consultation Processes for People with Psychosocial Disabilities

1. Introduction

Mental Health Reform is Ireland’s leading national coalition on mental health. Our vision is of an Ireland where everyone can access the support they need in their community, to achieve their best possible mental health.

In line with this vision, we drive the progressive reform of mental health services and supports, through coordination and policy development, research and innovation, accountability and collective advocacy. With over 75 member organisations and thousands of individual supporters, MHR provides a unified voice to Government, its agencies, the Oireachtas and the general public on mental health issues.

2. About the Disability Participation and Consultation Network

Mental Health Reform is a member of the Disability Participation and Consultation Network (DPCN) which was established in December 2020. The DPCN is funded by the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. The network is made up of grant-funded members: AsIAm, the Disability Federation of Ireland, Mental Health Reform and an organising member, Inclusion Ireland. Over 100 individuals and disability organisations from across Ireland are also members of the DPCN.

Working cooperatively, the goal of the Network membership is to provide a mechanism for ensuring the voice and views of persons with a disability in Ireland are heard in the development of legislation and policies to implement the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), and in other decision-making processes concerning issues relating to persons with disabilities. It is a goal of the Network to ensure that the diversity of disability experiences in Ireland are represented and involved in the participation and consultation activities undertaken by the Network.

3. Background

Participation is a fundamental principle of democratic societies and a requirement of the human rights-based approach to disability in moving away from charity and medical models.
Article 4.3 of the UNCRPD calls for States to closely consult and actively involve persons with disabilities through their representative organisations in all decision-making processes concerning them.

Consultation and participation are rooted in the disability movement’s motto, ‘nothing about us without us.’ Although the Irish Government has begun to report on consulting persons with disabilities and their representative organisations under the UNCRPD, meaningful engagement of persons with disabilities in the development and implementation of policies and legislation needs to be strengthened.

The experience of disability is not homogenous; therefore, all voices need to be heard, particularly those from underrepresented groups. People who have long-term mental health difficulties have rights under the UNCRPD. The term used by the United Nations to describe people living with severe or enduring mental health difficulties is “psychosocial disabilities”. Psychosocial disability refers to the experience of people who have mental health difficulties which, in interaction with various societal barriers, may hinder the full realisation of their rights.

4. Objectives of Consultancy

MHR is seeking an external consultant to conduct an analysis to identify best practice models to enable people with psychosocial disabilities to engage effectively in consultation processes.

Findings from the analysis will be used to develop a short guide to facilitate the design of accessible and inclusive consultation processes for people with psychosocial disabilities.

The guide will support the DPCN to promote models for effective participation and good consultation practice.
MHR will also use the guide to build the capacity of government departments and statutory agencies to consult effectively with people with psychosocial disabilities.

5. Scope and Focus

MHR wishes to engage a consultant to;

  • Conduct a literature review and analysis of effective models and international best practice for engaging people with psychosocial disabilities in consultation processes
  • Conduct one online focus group with people with psychosocial disabilities, their families, friends and carers to explore their experiences and views on participation in consultations
  • Develop a short guide (c.2,500 – 3,000 words) with information and recommendations on how to facilitate the design of accessible and inclusive consultation processes for people with psychosocial disabilities

6. Methodology

We expect the methodology to include desk research as well as one online focus group which will examine the views and experiences of mental health service users, their family, friends and carers. MHR will assist the consultant to recruit focus group participants and respondents from the DPCN and its own network.

7. Project Budget

The total budget for this tender is €4,000 including VAT and all expenses.

8. Consultant Specifications

MHR encourages applications from individuals with lived experience of psychosocial disabilities including service users, family members, friends or carers. MHR also invites applicants to nominate a research assistant with lived experience to work on this project.

The person or people hired to undertake this consultancy should also possess the following qualifications and skills, at a minimum;

  • Postgraduate degree in a relevant discipline
    Demonstrated knowledge of disability and mental health policy
  • Solid grounding in international and European human rights standards as they relate to disability
  • Experience in conducting qualitative research including data collection through focus groups and interviews and analysis of qualitative data
  • Strong writing and communication skills
  • Strong relationship management skills
  • Adherence to agreed-upon timeframes and deadlines 

9. Timeframe

The analysis should commence in July 2022 and be completed in September 2022. The guide should be completed in October 2022.

10. Insurance and Tax

The successful consultant will be required to submit evidence of relevant professional indemnity and insurance details and provide a tax clearance certificate.

11. Application and Tender Requirements

Tenders for this work must include:

  1. Name of applicant / organisation name, address and contact details
  2. Cover letter addressing the criteria and outlining the understanding of the brief (max. 1,000 words)
  3. Personnel involved – details of all personnel who will be involved, including a CV which outlines their qualifications/experience
  4. Description of proposed project approach, methodology, actions and timeframe (max. 1,500 words)
  5. Examples of two relevant previous projects along with a separate referee for each, including contact details, for both projects
  6. Costs – detailed costs including any associated costs, VAT inclusive

12. Tender Evaluation Process

Tender proposals will be scored against the following criteria:

  • Understanding the Brief (20%)
  • Proven capability and experience in research, consultation and relevant field work (30%)
  • Methodology (30%)
  • Cost (20%)

13. Closing Date for Receipt of Tender

The closing date for receipt of the Tender to MHR is 30th June 2022. Tender submissions, marked with the subject ‘Tender Application DPCN’ should be emailed to:

14. Queries or Clarifications

Contact Wendy Mitchell, Operations and Office Coordinator, Mental Health Reform at


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