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Evidence-based Recovery Colleges: developing a typology based on organisational characteristics, fidelity, and funding

Hayes, Daniel; Camacho, Elizabeth M.; Ronaldson, Amy; Stepanian, Katy; Mcphilbin, Merly; Elliott, Rachel A.; Repper, Julie; Bishop, Simon; Stergiopoulos, Vicky; Brophy, Lisa; Giles, Kirsty; Trickett, Sarah; Lawrence, Stella; Winship, Gary; Meddings, Sara; Bakolis, Ioannis; Henderson, Claire; Slade, Mike


Daniel Hayes

Elizabeth M. Camacho

Amy Ronaldson

Katy Stepanian

Rachel A. Elliott

Julie Repper

Vicky Stergiopoulos

Lisa Brophy

Kirsty Giles

Sarah Trickett

Stella Lawrence

Sara Meddings

Ioannis Bakolis

Claire Henderson

Professor of Mental Health Recovery and Social Inclusion



Recovery Colleges (RCs) have been implemented across England with wide variation in organisational characteristics. The purpose of this study is to describe RCs across England in terms of organisational and student characteristics, fidelity and annual spending, to generate a RC typology based on characteristics and to explore the relationship between characteristics and fidelity.

All RC in England meeting criteria on recovery orientation, coproduction and adult learning were included. Managers completed a survey capturing characteristics, fidelity and budget. Hierarchical cluster analysis was conducted to identify common groupings and generate an RC typology.

Participants comprised 63 (72%) of 88 RC in England. Fidelity scores were high (median 11, IQR 9–13). Both NHS and strengths-focussed RCs were associated with higher fidelity. The median annual budget was £200,000 (IQR £127,000–£300,000) per RC. The median cost per student was £518 (IQR £275–£840), cost per course designed was £5,556 (IQR £3,000–£9,416) and per course run was £1,510 (IQR £682–£3,030). The total annual budget across England for RCs is an estimated £17.6 m including £13.4 m from NHS budgets, with 11,000 courses delivered to 45,500 students.

Although the majority of RCs had high levels of fidelity, there were sufficiently pronounced differences in other key characteristics to generate a typology of RCs. This typology might prove important for understanding student outcomes and how they are achieved and for commissioning decisions. Staffing and co-producing new courses are key drivers of spending. The estimated budget for RCs was less than 1% of NHS mental health spending.


Hayes, D., Camacho, E. M., Ronaldson, A., Stepanian, K., Mcphilbin, M., Elliott, R. A., …Slade, M. (2023). Evidence-based Recovery Colleges: developing a typology based on organisational characteristics, fidelity, and funding. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology,

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Feb 27, 2023
Online Publication Date Mar 11, 2023
Publication Date Mar 11, 2023
Deposit Date Mar 1, 2023
Publicly Available Date Mar 12, 2024
Journal Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology
Print ISSN 0933-7954
Electronic ISSN 1433-9285
Publisher Springer Verlag
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Public URL
Publisher URL


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