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IGPB is an independent agency for research, development and training, based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. We take experiences of people who are, were or have been on the receiving end of services as our starting point, and often as the sole perspective of our approach. Involvement of people on the receiving end (for the remainder of this outline we will use the term 'users') in all phases of a project is a very important principle of our work. 


Many of our projects are commissioned by organisations of users, ex-users and or survivors of services. Funding is acquired from a range of public authorities and funding agencies.

When providers, purchasers of services, public authorities or other agencies approach us with a request to do research, we usually involve people on the receiving end as soon as possible. Not only does this change the role users may wish to play, it also enhances the ownership of the research. Those who are researched become, in some ways, owner of the research. Thus people on the receiving end are invited to take part, not only as providers of information but also as co-producers of knowledge and expertise based on experience.

Research and development

The clients' panel, developed by IGPB together with APCP, is a good example of a methodology for research and development. Introducing ‘crisis cards’ as a way to enhance the say of users in the event of a crisis, was one of the recommendations of the first panel investigation. An approach of making arrangements between users, people in their environment and agencies such as general practitioners, housing associations, social work departments, police and mental health services has been successfully developed.

Training and education

Training and education are another important part of our work. In 1995 we developed an approach in training which was innovative in mental health in the Netherlands. People on the receiving end were invited to take part in developing training for professionals. Initially 'training the trainers' was carried out by a professional trainer. Other (ex)users were invited to take part in this training, entitled Clients' perspective.

Together user run resource centres of mental health services and various universities , IGPB has developed curricula, designed to support people at the receiving end to make use of their expertise by experience in several capacities, i.e. as a researcher, a trainer or as a support worker.

We participated in the Ex-in project and in The Missing Link project, both funded by Leonarda Da Vincy program of the European Union. In both projects we further developed the concepts of experts by experience. Also we contributed to the development more training and education for experts by experience and their employment.