Our commitment to patient and public engagement

NHS Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is committed to placing the views of local people at the heart of their NHS, ensuring that they are included in the review and co-design of local services.

We work hard to build and maintain relationships with partner organisations, community groups and organisations and continually explore opportunities for collaborative working.

This, together with our public engagement work ensures that the people of Dorset are provided with the best opportunities to influence the work we do.

Find out more about opportunities to get involved and influence our work in our Get Involved news pages.

Engagement principles

We have a set of engagement principles which are published in our constitution and support our approach to engagement.

  • Fairness, equality, confidentiality and inclusion will underpin all aspects of our community engagement, and will be reflected in our engagement policies and practice

  • Engagement is a two way and proactive process and we will ensure that this is reflected in our approach to all engagement activity

  • 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

  • Community engagement will be continuous with a commitment to learning from experience and national guidance

  • There is an acceptance that some communities find it difficult to engage due to capacity or competency. We will work with these communities to ensure that they are able to respond effectively to us. Dorset CCG will ensure the effective implementation of equality principles, to share ownership of the wider agenda, and to enable all viewpoints to be identified, collected and reflected

  • 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

  • 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 ability to influence change

  • 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

  • Feedback is essential to develop a trusted and honest relationship. Feedback will be provided following all engagement activities and there will be clarity about the differences 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 about the scope of change and what can be influenced

  • The need to use effective methods to achieve change

  • The skills and knowledge of all those involved need to be used and developed

  • That continuous improvement is essential.

Representatives of the NHS Dorset’s CCG’s Engagement and Communications team are members of The Consultation Institute for continuous advice and updates.  

NHS Dorset CCG contacts for advice and assurance as appropriate depending on the scale and nature of public consultations.

Putting local people at the centre of our discussions

Dorset’s Public Engagement Group (PEG) produced a guide to putting local people at the centre of our discussions. It was developed to help improve experience as well as outcomes for local people.

Standards of 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.

Spectrum of involvement

spectrum of involvement

Range of communication methods

An essential element of meaningful engagement is ensuring timely and accessible information and communication.  Each review of services will have its own engagement plan to help make sure we reach the target audience for each review.  

We will use a range of methods to ensure we communicate effectively with a wide range of people. This could include: 

  • Our partners including PPGs and voluntary sector organisations

  • Social media – including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

  • Our website

  • Press releases

  • E-newsletter and e-bulletins

  • Printed materials including documents and posters

  • Events

Accessible information

We are committed to sharing our story with our public, stakeholders, opinion-formers and staff in a way that will help them to understand what we are doing and why. 

Our key publications can be made available in alternative formats, such as EasyRead, large print, braille or audio, and may be available in alternative languages upon request. 

Please contact us to make a request at communications@dorsetccg.nhs.uk

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion

We are committed to ensuring that we reduce health inequalities and to keeping the needs of our communities at the heart of our commissioning role. 

Read more about our Equality, Diversity and Inclusion work including our Equality Impact Assessments.

Working together

NHS Dorset CCG works closely with a number of local organisations. They play a significant role in helping us to reach out to our local communities and groups, providing information and opportunity to be involved.

The CCG has a duty to engage with some of these organisations including Healthwatch, the Health and Wellbeing Boards and the Health Overview and Scrutiny Committees, who can challenge on proposals in the interests of local residents.

It is important that we engage with our diverse communities ensuring their needs are taken into account when co-producing, designing and commissioning services.

The main organisations and groups we work with are:

Our Dorset partners

Dorset CCG is part of Our Dorset. Our Dorset is a partnership of health and social care organisations working together to deliver Integrated Care Systems.

Our Dorset Engagement Leads Network

The Engagement Leads network is made up of nominated public engagement leads from each of the Our Dorset ICS partner organisations and representatives from the Community Action Network and Dorset Community Action.  The network meets bi-monthly. Progress reports are provided bi-monthly to the Senior Leadership Team.

The purpose of the Our Dorset Engagement Leads Network is to:

– To share information, intelligence and approach to public engagement across Our Dorset (ICS)
– To align as far as possible so that the audiences we seek to engage with see and experience a coordinated and consistent approach Our Dorset (ICS) partner organisations.
– To share best practice and act as a professional group for critiquing and enhancing a professional engagement approach across the county.
– To provide expert engagement advice and guidance in line with national guidance and good practice. It is not the role of the group to carry out engagement work.
– To work with the Sustainability Transformation Plan portfolio leads to ensure that the work programme for the Our Dorset Public Engagement Group (PEG) is timely and meaningful.


Our key publications can be made available in alternative formats, such as easy read, large print or audio, and may be available in alternative languages upon request.

Please contact us to make a request at communications@dorsetccg.nhs.uk