Written by Casey Townsend

Communications and Engagement Coordinator at Dorset CCG


#EngagingDorset to work better together

Integrated Care System Public Engagement Project

In November 2018, the NHS in Dorset, Local Councils, Voluntary organisations and members of the public attended a ‘Discovery Workshop’ to plan how to strengthen public engagement work together.

NHS England selected Dorset to be the first of six pilots for this Integrated Care System Public Engagement improvement project.

At this event, people debated and discussed possible outcomes which would improve the way all the organisations communicate with the public, and the way the public are involved in local projects and decision making.

The day opened with presentations from NHS and Local Authority colleagues, which demonstrated how organisations have already started to collaborate and work together. We had peer support from NHS organisations across the country, including from NHS England, to facilitate, present and help to run the event.

Rich Stockley, Head of Research and Engagement for Surrey County Council came to present and put the comment below on Twitter:

The workshops focussed on the three areas that had been identified as needing improvement. These areas were collaboration, communication and better use of existing information.

People were encouraged to read through a number of posters displaying the information about the areas for improvement and leave comments. There were then informed discussions led by experienced facilitators around ideas for improvements and how public engagement overall could be improved.

People said that the event was a ‘great opportunity to meet colleagues across the system’; that there was a‘really high standard of debate on theory and design principles’ and that they ‘enjoyed the dialogue and discussion’.

What happens next?

All of the suggestions for improvement collected at the meeting have been pulled together in a report. In response to this feedback, engagement leads from across Dorset have worked together to develop an action plan to improve public engagement and communications across Dorset. Over the coming year the NHS, Local Authorites, community and voluntary sector and local people will work together to make these improvements. Some of the exciting projects to come out of this work include:

• Training a ‘bank’ of 80 staff ‘engagement champions’ across Dorset to work with local people to co-design local services
• Setting up a ‘reading panel’ with local people to review and provide feedback on draft public information
• Looking and planning together at how the NHS and Local Councils can work more closely with the community and voluntary sector and Healthwatch Dorset when engaging with the people of Dorset
• Co-designing a refresh of the CCGs “Supporting Stronger Voices Forum” to become a system wide group with the Our Dorset Public Engagement Group. Providing public, patient and carer representatives with the opportunity to come together, build relationships, have a collective understanding of health and care services and provide their views to infom service change.
• Joining up Dorset’s engagement and communication teams across all health and care organisations – to work together more closely.

As this work progresses, I will keep the website and blog posts updated.

If you have any questions please contact me at casey.townsend@dorsetccg.nhs.uk

Read more about how we are engaging with local people in Dorset.

Read the ICS Discovery Workshop Analysis.