Communication and engagement

All stakeholders have the opportunity to engage with, influence and shape their local place-based health and care system. This is achieved through a clearly communicated vision, involvement in decision making and having quality information readily and easily accessible.

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Local government, NHS England, CCGs, and NHS trust/foundation trusts all have separate but similar legal obligations to consult or otherwise involve the public.

Duties for local government to consider are that of:

  • overview and scrutiny
  • public sector equality duty
  • health and wellbeing boards
  • the legal requirement to hold meetings in public, except where it is permissible to exclude the public.

Due to the democratic accountability of local government, even where there is no legal duty, public consultation is a principle that it continually reinforced.

The four main stakeholder groups it is important to reach are:

  • service users and the wider public
  • clinical staff
  • the wider workforce
  • local leaders and local politicians.

Frequently asked questions

What does good person centred, community focused health and care look like?

  • a well thought through and documented engagement approach, involving the public, communities and other stakeholders, even where there is no obligation by law to do so, is in most circumstances the right thing to do and will ensure services meet the needs of the population
  • where possible joint public involvement exercises are encouraged between local government and NHS partners as they reduce the burden on service users and the wider public
  • effective communication and involvement throughout will help to build ownership and support for proposals.

What does good communication and engagement look like?

  • a clear vision is important to underpin engagement and buy-in - one that is routed in making a positive difference to individuals – and in order to monitor progress. This is clear from the ‘Mrs Smith' case study (see below)
  • a communication and engagement strategy can sit across all workstreams and set out how stakeholders will be communicated with
  • defining and segmenting the population can make targeting and engaging populations much easier
  • successful relationships and integrated delivery will in part come down to how information is shared. It will form part of the communication strategy and wider partnership agreement
  • holding events to engage the public, local and national partners can be a key platform to showcase and develop work.

What are some key engagement techniques?

The ‘Ladder of Engagement and Participation' is a model for understanding different forms and degrees of engagement. Transforming participation in health and care discusses the following:

  • devolving: placing decision-making in the hands of the community and individuals. For example, personal health budgets or a community development approach
  • collaborating: working in partnership with communities and patients in each aspect of the decision, including the development of alternatives and the identification of the preferred solution
  • involving: working directly with communities and patients to ensure that concerns and aspirations are consistently understood and considered. For example, partnership boards, reference groups and service users participating in policy groups
  • consulting Obtaining community and individual feedback on analysis, alternatives and / or decisions. For example, surveys, door knocking, citizens' panels and focus groups
  • informing: providing communities and individuals with balanced and objective information to assist them in understanding problems, alternatives, opportunities, solutions. For example, websites, newsletters and press releases

Case studies and examples

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LGA support and resources

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Selected tools and resources from our partners