This paper reports a survey of 75 organisations commissioning and providing secondary mental health services regarding their policies and practice in respect of payment to mental health services users and informal carers for expenses and their time when participating in the design, development, delivery and monitoring of services. A wide range of statutory and non-statutory organisations was invited to participate. Results indicate that there is a considerable desire to develop practice in this area and that the issue of payments is viewed as important in addressing user and carer participation. Significantly, many organisations employed unwritten policies based on custom and practice and were most likely to relate to basic expenses payments rather than payments for time given. A small number of organisations had developed robust policies and these usually included payment for time as well as expenses payments. Useful areas to address in developing policies were identified, along with barriers and possible solutions to successful implementation of such initiatives.