Involving communities, citizens and service users in the design and delivery of public services has long been a key aim of government policy and arguably has it never been more important than within times of austerity. Yet, whilst acknowledging the importance of engagement, many health and social care organisations struggle with this in practice. This paper sets out some guiding principles for engagement.
This paper draws on conversations at a series of events in 2013 which brought together researchers, those charged with delivering on government policy at the local level and active citizens, to debate and explore evidence and practice on how to involve and mobilise citizens in local decision making in a time of austerity. Learning is distilled from these events to provide a useful guide for working effectively with communities.
As with any issue as complex as this, there is no magic bullet, quick fix, simple check-list or solve-all tool. Like doing anything worthwhile, working with communities is difficult, takes time and is at its core about building relationships. However, this does not mean that every attempt to design involvement processes needs to start entirely from scratch. There is a wealth and diversity of experience in designing and developing involvement mechanisms to draw upon.
This paper will provide a helpful guide to those who are about to embark on a programme of engagement or who are presently involved in engagement activities with communities, citizens and service users.
The authors would like to thank the participants for their contributions in a series of events held in March 2013, convened as part of a policy review supported by Arts and Humanities Connected Communities programme and a one-day workshop in June 2013, convened by the Health Services Management Centre at the University of Birmingham.
Durose, C., Richardson, L., Dickinson, H. and Williams, I. (2013), "Dos and don’ts for involving citizens in the design and delivery of health and social care", Journal of Integrated Care, Vol. 21 No. 6, pp. 326-335. https://doi.org/10.1108/JICA-10-2013-0039Download as .RIS
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