At NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG we plan all of our communication and engagement activity. We provide staff with in-house training and guidance about engagement. This means that when commissioners are thinking about the priorities, they are aware of the importance of engagement. The fact that it is written into our constitution and we have a Lay Member for Public and Patient Involvement, means that from the top of the organisation down, it is seen as a priority.
We follow some clear steps to make sure that engagement is rigorous, methodical and meaningful. Here is how we plan our communication and engagement activities.
- Engagement checklist – CCG staff complete the engagement checklist and discuss their project with the engagement team. We find out more about their project, what impact if any it will have on patients and the public, and what patients and the public can influence. At this stage it is agreed whether there is likely to be a need for communication and engagement and at what level.
- Equality Impact Assessment (EIA)– this is when we assess if what we are considering will have any undue impact on any particular patient or public groups. We start with an understanding of our population we use information from the Kirklees Joint Strategic Assessment and other public health information to understand more about health inequalities and equalities.
- Stakeholder analysis– this is when we analyse who we wish to reach, involve and engage with.
- Review of existing patient and public feedback – if we already have patient and public feedback from previous engagement, we start with that first, to see what it is telling us. This includes reviewing what activity has already taken place or is planned to take place on Involve.
- Assessment of method(s) of engagement– once we know what our proposed plans are, and not only who but how they might impact on people, we need to consider how we are going to engage with people. We have a wide range of tools and techniques to do this such as working with our Community Voices.
- Development of communication and engagement plan– we can now produce a communication and engagement plan which sets out who is doing what, when, and how. The draft plan is shared with our Patient Engagement Assurance Group so they can provide us with feedback.
- Development of materials to communicate and engage – with a plan in place, we can now start developing materials for engagement. These may be materials such as posters or leaflets, or online content, but it could also be organising events or arranging for focus groups.
- Engagement – this is the point when we listen to people. We will work hard to hear or view as many comments as possible and we will continually check that our plan is working – and if not we will modify it.
- Analysis of views and experience – once we have collected the views and experiences of people, we then start to analyse them to establish what people are saying and how this can be used by commissioners.
- Engagement reports– we write a report which describes the engagement that has taken place and what people have told us. This report is shared with the appropriate committee to support discussions about the wider project. We publish all reports on our website.
- Feedback– we provide feedback from engagement in a range of ways. For example we might issue a press release, create a story on social media, talk about it at a public engagement event, or we might use our website to share the report and the action we have taken.