Working with people and communities

NHS Dorset will listen to people and communities across Dorset, see things from their perspective, and co-design the services that people really need going forward, so that we can support people to live healthy and happy lives from cradle to old age.

We will work more closely together across the NHS, local authorities, and many others in what is called the Dorset ‘integrated care system’. We are going to try to avoid using this phrase, and instead use ‘working together locally’.

NHS Dorset would like to do things differently than how we have done things in the past – we’ve tried to set out how we are going to start going about that. However, this is only the start of us working with local people, and in the coming months and years, we would like to work with people more to really create our plans together.

Case study:

Community Voices – 100 Conversations

We are working with others across Dorset to speak to at least 100 people from all walks of life to listen and hear what they have to say about their lives. We want to hear from those who haven’t until now had a voice and the chance to speak up. Our leaders are going to be trained up to do this well, so that they can hear for themselves first-hand how people feel about their lives and how things could be made better.

Read “Together, working with people and communities”

“We believe that people and communities have a wealth of experience and expertise to contribute to the development and ongoing sustainability of a truly place-based and integrated care system for Dorset. By putting people and communities at the heart of system thinking, transformation and integration, we can move away from “them and us” culture to work collaboratively “all of us” as citizens of Dorset. Genuine integration and coproduction across statutory, voluntary and community organisations and local communities will ensure that people and their voices are heard and integrated within all decisions that affect them and their lives.”

Becky Aldridge, Chief Executive, Dorset Mental Health Forum

Meeting our legal duty to involve

How we will work together with local people

Improve services with people and communities

Working with Healthwatch Dorset

Working with the voluntary sector

Involving people and communities in decision making

Working with people and communities to reduce health inequalities

Improve services with people and communities

You have said: we need to listen more.

In response to what people and communities have been telling us, NHS Dorset will:

  • Work together with people and communities

  • Listen more so that we can learn by trying to understand other’s lived experiences

  • Improve training so that people at every part of our organisation can listen, have conversations with people, and make things better with them

  • Work on the creation of a new ‘citizens panel’ – which will give people a better voice

  • Continue to work with others, local councils, the voluntary and community sector, Healthwatch Dorset, and many others – from education to employers

  • Seek out those whose people who we do not reach, give them the chance share what they think, and work with us

  • Make sure we carry out what are called ‘equality impact assessments’ – these make sure that we are thinking about everyone in Dorset

  • Make sure we do not forget those who do not have access to the internet and communicate with them, and also offer training to those who would like to go digital

  • Share what we are doing, and continue to learn from others, and keep a plan to make sure that we meet what is called our legal duty to involv

  • Share how we have used what people have said so that they know what is going on

Read more about how we will improve services in “Together, working with people and communities”

We must listen to people at the earliest stage of service design, development, and evaluation. Only through this approach can you truly understand what matters to people.

Ian Gall, Chair, Our Dorset Public Engagement Group

Working with Healthwatch Dorset

We are very grateful to have the opportunity to work with Healthwatch Dorset and build on our work together.

Healthwatch Dorset is the independent health and social care champion for Dorset and aims to ensure that people are at the heart of care. Healthwatch Dorset believes that health and social care providers can best improve services by listening to people’s experiences.

Healthwatch have said: we are really pleased to be working with NHS Dorset to develop a strategic approach to working with people and communities that puts local people’s views and experiences at the heart of decision-making.

Plans for future working with Healthwatch Dorset – we will:

  • NHS Dorset will work closely with Healthwatch Dorset, having monthly meetings about working with people and communities

  • Healthwatch Dorset will continue to be a key partner in the engagement leaders’ network, supported by NHS Dorset

  • Healthwatch Dorset will continue to provide independent scrutiny and challenge where appropriate

  • Healthwatch Dorset will share insights and public feedback with NHS Dorset

  • NHS Dorset will ensure that Healthwatch Dorset reports and insights are shared with the right people in order to make the most impact

  • Healthwatch Dorset will have a pivotal role in relation to involvement and co-production with local people to inform future plans

  • Healthwatch Dorset will provide advice, guidance and expertise in community engagement and involvement

  • NHS Dorset will explore opportunities to commission Healthwatch Dorset to undertake dedicated work with people and communities to inform service development

Read more about our work with Healthwatch in “Together, working with people and communities”

We are really pleased to be working with NHS Dorset to develop a strategic approach to working with people and communities that puts local people’s views and experiences at the heart of decision-making.

Viv Aird, Chair, Healthwatch Dorset Steering Group

Working in partnership with the voluntary and community sector

We would like to thank all the voluntary and community sector and people within this community in Dorset for continuing to work with us as equals within our health and social care community.

Local people have told us: that the voluntary and community sector have a range of skills, experience, and bring a way of looking at things that often leads to quick and creative change. They also feel that these groups have not always been part of decisions. They feel that voluntary and community sector need to be recognised as equals, and that their expertise needs to be better acknowledged and valued. These groups have a great deal of expertise that will help us to reach more people who we have not been able to hear before. People feel that there is an opportunity to include these groups in improving services.

In response to what people and communities have been telling us, together we will:

  • Work closely to enable the voluntary and community sector to have a voice and influence at all levels

  • Work in line with the ten principles for working with people and communities

  • Ensure that when we are making decisions, we support closer working with the voluntary and community sector as equals

  • Work with representatives to work up new and good ways of working

  • Work together to better understand people and community’s needs, experiences and aspirations for health, care, and wellbeing

  • Continue to work closely with Dorset Race Equality Council community health ambassadors to listen to the voices of the more than forty communities in Dorset that they represent and better understand their needs, beliefs, and aspirations

  • Continue and extend work with community leaders, reaching out to those affected by inequalities – strengthening relationships, build trust, and allowing the voice of people and communities to be heard

  • Look at ways to enable those who we work with to reach and engage with communities who have poorer experiences and outcomes

  • Continue to play a central role in the Building Health Partnerships programme, building relationships between the NHS, local authorities and the community and voluntary sector

  • Support the creation of ways to measure quality and evidence to see what difference our work together is making

To build a truly collaborative approach with NHS Dorset and all the partners is so important and vital to make a difference to people’s lives, working together makes what we do so much sense, means we are stronger and better.

Alex Picot, Chief Executive, Dorset Community Action

Involving people and communities in decision making

Putting the views of local people and communities at the centre of decision making of NHS Dorset is very important to us.

You have told us: we need to put people and communities at the start, during and when decisions are made.

NHS Dorset will:

  • Work in line with the national NHS England principles and what we have set out in the new constitution for NHS Dorset

  • Endorse the ‘It’s your health and wellbeing – we’re listening’ way of working created by the public engagement group

  • Adopt clear and transparent mechanisms for developing integrated health plans with people and communities

  • Work with the Chief People Officer and the non-executive directors of the new board of NHS Dorset to put people and communities at the centre of when decisions are made

  • Create a clear way for the chair of the public engagement group and the digital public engagement group to share updates with the NHS Dorset senior leadership team and board

  • Provide new training for the leadership team at NHS Dorset, both the board and senior leaders in listening and hearing the voices of people and communities

  • Make decision making meetings open and the language we use understandable, for example by writing reports like this one in plain language

  • Provide induction and training and ongoing development to support all NHS Dorset public representatives

  • Work to ensure the NHS Dorset System Quality Group and the Quality and Safety Committee have at least two lay members

  • Work in line with what is called the Dorset framework for Strategic Involvement of Patients and Services Users in organisations – basically making sure patients are involved

  • Ensure clear ways are in place to give weight to the voice of people and communities and to have their say in our decisions

Understanding what really matters to people, and genuinely listening and responding to that, is at the heart of high-quality care, and improving people’s health and wellbeing.

Sam Crowe, Director, Public Health

Working with people and communities to reduce health inequalities

You have said: we need to do better to make health and care services better for all people and all communities.

In response to what people and communities have been telling us, NHS Dorset will:

  • As well as looking at facts and figures, we will ask people what they think about why some people and groups do not benefit from the same health and care services as others

  • Work to have a better relationship with people and communities in Dorset who experience this in their everyday lives

  • Do more to get involved more in local communities across Dorset

  • Speak, listen, and work with people to agree targets for reducing inequalities

  • Work together with what is called the Dorset health inequalities group – where organisations like public health, the NHS, local authorities, and others are working together on this, rather than just by ourselves

  • Continue and extend work with community leaders, reaching out to those affected by inequalities

  • Be a much stronger voice in shouting about how important it is to work with people and communities in reducing health inequalities

  • Promote greater understanding of cultural events and festivities, celebrating different cultures and ways of living

  • Host regular training for staff on inequalities and encourage our staff to take part in a new virtual academy to benefit from free training, ideas and ways of doing things

  • Continue to explore the use of ways to see how we are doing in making a difference

Read more about our work to reduce inequalities in “Together, working with people and communities”

NHS Dorset is a great opportunity to come together as equal partners to put an end to the inflexibility that has created the existing inequalities for many of Dorset residents. These are exciting times that we all need to embrace to create a positive change for all and for the future.

Nathalie Sherring, Chief Executive, Dorset Race Equality Council

What our partners say

If not now when? We’re at a critical point in time – we all need to continue to pull together and work as equal partners with our communities … as everyone deserves to live well.
Karen Loftus, Chief Executive, Community Action Network

The role of parish and town councils as a source of key information for residents on a broad range of topics has moved into a more dynamic space following the Covid-19 pandemic. Community based social media fed by local councils, will play an increasingly important role.

Neil Wedge, Chief Executive, Dorset Association of Parish Town Councils

The voluntary and community Sector holds a privileged position of supporting health and wellbeing at a local level.  By developing unified partnerships with NHS Dorset, we build stronger connections to individual voices and what communities want and need to thrive.

Caroline Moylan, Director of Homelessness, Bournemouth Churches House Association

The voluntary sector must mobilise its amazing potential so we can find solutions to the huge challenges faced by the National Health Service, embrace the opportunities the new Integrated Care System offers and help the of people Dorset live happier and healthier lives.

Linda O'Sullivan, Chief Executive, Dorset Mind

Healthwatch Dorset works hard to provide up-to date information and gather local people’s views on health and social care services. Our small staff team and amazing volunteers are passionate about giving people the opportunity to share their experiences of using health and social care services across Dorset and making sure that this valuable feedback reaches the powers that be and leads to positive change.

We work closely with NHS commissioners and providers, local councils, care providers and the voluntary sector, sharing people’s concerns and queries to help improve local services. The feedback we gathered last year; engagement with children and young people; our community outreach work with people experiencing homelessness and our latest reports on people’s access to dentistry and experience of using A&E services are helping the NHS and councils make service improvements.

We are really pleased to be working with NHS Dorset to develop a strategic approach to working with people and communities that puts local people’s views and experiences at the heart of decision-making.

Viv Aird, Chair, Healthwatch Dorset Steering Group

We must listen to people at the earliest stage of service design, development, and evaluation. Only through this approach can you truly understand what matters to people.

Ian Gall, Chair, Our Dorset Public Engagement Group

We believe that people and communities have a wealth of experience and expertise to contribute to the development and ongoing sustainability of a truly place-based and integrated care system for Dorset. By putting people and communities at the heart of system thinking, transformation and integration, we can move away from “them and us” culture to work collaboratively “all of us” as citizens of Dorset. Genuine integration and coproduction across Statutory, Voluntary and Community organisations and local communities will ensure that people and their voices are heard and integrated within all decisions that affect them and their lives.

Becky Aldridge, Chief Executive, Dorset Mental Health Forum

Understanding what really matters to people, and genuinely listening and responding to that, is at the heart of high-quality care, and improving people’s health and wellbeing.

Sam Crowe, Director, Public Health
The development of NHS Dorset is a great opportunity for statutory and voluntary organisations to come together as equal partners and as part of the wider integrated care system, to put an end to the inflexibility that has created the existing inequalities for many of Dorset residents. The Dorset integrated care system will enable residents to be at the centre of all decision-making processes to reduce the health inequalities, to avoid duplication and to pool resources more effectively. These are exciting times that we all need to embrace to create a positive change for all and for the future.
Nathalie Sherring, Chief Executive, Dorset Race Equality Council

To build a truly collaborative approach with NHS Dorset and all the partners is so important and vital to make a difference to people’s lives, working together makes what we do so much sense, means we are stronger and better.

Alex Picot, Chief Executive, Dorset Community Action

I believe there is a sea change in the relationship between the voluntary and statutory sectors. There is mutual respect, determination and a shared vision to provide a health service that strives to meet the needs of everyone in Dorset.

Nick Rowe, Project Manager, Dorset Community Mental Health Alliance

NHS Dorset, working together locally, offers us a huge opportunity to develop great partnerships and teamwork between support providers of all kinds in a whole range of different places. Creating better connections and integration with the huge contribution of the voluntary and community sector will support smarter working between all partners. Better integration will facilitate even more practical, grass-roots support that will improve the quality of life, health, and care of all Dorset’s residents.

Jon Sloper, Chief Executive, #HelpAndKindness

We need to listen, to learn by trying to understand other’s lived experiences, and we need to codesign the services that people and communities in Dorset need going forward. We need to work with others to help people not just live long, healthy lives, but long lives that add quality and that’s about personal happiness.

Patricia Miller OBE, Chief Executive, NHS Dorset