Our approach to working with people and communities

Working with people and communities is an essential part of making sure that effective and efficient health and care services are delivered with local people and communities at the centre.

By reaching, listening to, involving and empowering our people and communities, we can ensure that local people are at the heart of decision making and makes sure that we put our population’s needs at the core of all we do.

By working together, you can help us improve all aspects of health care - giving people the power to live healthier lives. The insights and diverse thinking of local people and communities are essential to help us to deliver our priorities and to tackle health inequalities.

We want you to help us develop your local health care services and have meaningful involvement in decision making, where people have a genuine opportunity to influence. 

Our 10 principles for working with people and communities

In Somerset we have adopted the national 10 principles of working with people and communities to help make sure we meet our public duties in a meaningful way. These have been adapted through co-design with local groups for Somerset:

  1. Put the voices of people and communities at the centre of decision making and governance.
  2. Understand our community’s needs, experience and aspirations for health and care, with a strong focus on underrepresented communities.
  3. Involve people at the start in developing plans and feedback how their engagement has influenced decision-making and ongoing service improvement, including when changes cannot be made.
  4. Ensure that insight from groups and communities who experience health inequalities is sought effectively and used to make changes in order to reduce inequality in, and barriers to, care.
  5. Build relationships with underrepresented groups, especially those affected by inequalities, ensuring their voices are heard to help address health inequalities.
  6. Work with Healthwatch and the voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector as key partners.
  7. Through partnership working, co-production, insight and public engagement address system priorities in collaboration with people and communities, demonstrating accountable health and care.
  8. Use community development approaches that empower people and communities, building community capacity.
  9. Provide clear and accessible public information about vision, plans and progress, to build understanding and trust.
  10. Learn from what works and build on the assets of all ICS partners – networks, relationships and activity in local places – to maximise the impact of involvement.

Our working with people and communities strategy

NHS Somerset would like to do things differently, we have started to outline how we will approach this in our people and communities engagement strategy.

Read our current engagement strategy: working with people and communities.

This is only the start though. Our engagement strategy will adapt and respond to our changing environment as we work as an ICS and as we work with more local people and communities to develop our plans together.

As our work develops we will refresh our engagement strategy, taking into account new developments, ways of working and our new ICS strategy and joint forward plan.

Our Engagement networks

Involving patients, families and carers, local people and community groups in the development of health and care services helps ensure we develop the right services to meet the needs of local people.

There are a number of different networks and groups we have in place to make sure the voice of local people and communities is at the heart of all that we do.

Poster showing ways of engaging with people and communities

Read our 2022-2023 working with people and communities' annual report to find out more about our engagement work during that year.

Stay informed

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed and hear about opportunities to get involved.

Get involved

Find out more about the different ways you can get involved in our work and have your voice heard.

Citizens' Panel

Find the latest surveys and opportunities to have your voice heard by joining our Citizens' Panel.

Our work

Find out about our work with people and communities and what the Engagement team have been doing.