Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group

Our commitment to engagement

We recognise that communication and engagement drives transparency, accountability, reputation and ultimately better services and outcomes, and that our success in improving outcomes and the quality of services locally is significantly dependent on their ability to look outward and be inclusive of those we serve.

Engagement principles

We have a draft set of engagment principles which will be published in our constitution to support our approach to engagement. At the moment these are:

  1. Fairness, equality, confidentiality and inclusion will underpin all aspects of our community engagement, and will be reflected in our engagement policies and practice
  2. Engagement is a two way and proactive process and we will ensure that this is reflected in our approach to all engagement activity
  3. Engagement activities will have clear and agreed purpose, and we will use appropriate methods and standards to achieve these purposes, ensuring they are relevant to the audience and easily accessible for everyone
  4. Improving community engagement will be a continuous learning experience ensuring that there is a commitment to learning both from experience and national guidance
  5. There is an acceptance that some communities find it difficult to engage due to capacity or competency, and skills will be developed to ensure that communities are able to respond effectively to the Dorset CCG
  6. Skills will be built in the CCG to ensure the effective implementation of equalities principles, to share ownership of the wider agenda, and to enable all viewpoints to be identified, collected and reflected
  7. We will be clear with all our communities the scope of change and the influence that they can have on this change so there is a shared understanding. We will be clear about our reasons for this change and why there may be limitations on public influence for change.
  8. Accurate, timely information is crucial for effective engagement and wherever possible enough time will be allowed for early information gathering, engagement and if necessary consultation on specific issues
  9. Feedback is essential to develop a trusted and honest relationship. Feedback will be provided for all engagement activities and there will be clarity about what difference the engagement has made. If no changes have been made, this will also be explained

In summary, these principles highlight the importance of equality and recognises:

  • the diversity of people and communities
  • the need to ensure that engagement has a clear sense of purpose
  • the requirement to be open and transparent in what the scope of change can be
  • effective methods for achieving change need to be used
  • the skills and knowledge of all those involved need to be used and developed
  • that continuous improvement is essential

We will also adopt the following standards for engagement:

Honesty: we will be clear about the scope of the engagement activity and what can be changed and what can’t. When changes can’t be made, we will explain why

Involvement: we aim to identify and involve the people and organisations who have an interest in the focus of the engagement

Support: we will identify and overcome any barriers to involvement and support people to engage with us

Planning: we will gather evidence of the needs and available resources and use this evidence to agree the purpose, scope and timescale of the engagement and the actions to be taken

Methods: we will agree and use methods of engagement that are fit for purpose and relevant to the target audience

Working together: we will agree and use clear procedures to work with others where appropriate to avoid duplication of engagement and effort

Improvement: we will ensure that the engagement feeds into commissioning decisions so that people can see results of the engagement activity

Feedback: we will feed back the results of the engagement to the wider community and those who undertook the engagement in a timely manner

Communication: effective communication about the ways and opportunities to engage will be published and proactively shared with communities

Proactive: we recognise that the CCG needs to be proactive in its approach and wherever possible will attend existing meetings and go to where people are rather than expect people to come to the CCG

Monitoring and evaluation: we will monitor and evaluate whether the engagement achieves its purposes and ensure that we monitor those who have engaged with us.

Our audiences

The CCG has both internal and external audiences, sometimes referred to as stakeholders. By definition our audiences are any person, group or organisation that affects, or can be affected by, our actions. 

They include all those within the new involvement and engagement network, localities and the CCPs and  others such as HealthWatch Dorset, Health and Wellbeing Boards, Health Overview and Scrutiny Committees, local authorities, providers (both NHS and private), voluntary organisations, the NHS England and MPs. 

The CCG already has relationships with a large number of audiences. Developing and maintaining relationships with all of them and exploring opportunities for collaborative working, underpins the effectiveness of our engagement plans.