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Perceptions of Involvement

October 7, 2011

We want to find out what people think about their involvement in their community, to contribute to the current debate around engagement and the ‘big society’, and to inform our work to help promote citizenship, community engagement, empowerment and accountability in the public, community and voluntary sector and in social enterprise.

Please give us your views by clicking on the survey link below.

Perceptions of Involvement Survey

Government moves on accountability for NHS

June 21, 2011

On 6 April 2011 the Government announced that it would “pause, listen and reflect” on its NHS reform plans and established the NHS Future Forum to lead the 8-week “listening exercise”. The NHS Future Forum issued its report on 13 June.

In response to the NHS Future Forum report, the Government has announced changes to its NHS reform plans that adopt many of the Future Forum’s proposals and address many of the concerns raised since the publication of the Health White Paper in July 2010.

We welcome these changes, in particular those concerned with accountability and scrutiny that go some way in correcting the flaws in their original proposals and concede many of the objections and suggestions that we along with many others made at the time.

We have produced a brief summary of the Government’s latest proposals –
NHS listening whats new

It should be read in conjunction with our briefing, The Health White Paper – what it says, our original response to the White Paper, and our update paper, The Health White Paper – What’s changed?, summarising the changes announced by the government following the consultation on the White Paper, which can all be found on the documents page.

Accountability and scrutiny must be central to NHS reforms

June 8, 2011

Any reforms to the NHS must follow the key principle that decisions on all publicly funded commissioning and provision should be taken by publicly accountable and open bodies, and should be subject to local authority scrutiny.

We welcome the Government’s confirmation that that health scrutiny should remain independent from the executive, and that both commissioning bodies and Health and Wellbeing Boards will be subject to scrutiny by local authority scrutiny committees.

There is a need for proper governance and transparency of commissioning consortia and of Health and Wellbeing Boards, with a broad membership including elected councilors and representatives of other health professions, not just GPs; and they need to be subject to independent scrutiny, regardless of the composition of their boards.

Further, in addition to the important role of HealthWatch enabling engagement if the wider community, patients and the public need to be involved effectively at every level from the strategic Health and Wellbeing Board, to actual service delivery.

You can see our response to the NHS Future Forum here – NHS FF response

Toolkit for LINk self evaluation

April 26, 2011

Working with my colleague Diana Coman, and using my knowledge of LINks policy and guidance and my experience supporting and developing LINks, I have produced an easy to use and effective toolkit to help LINks carry out a self evaluation and inform their development. have produced a simple to use toolkit for Local Involvement Networks to carry out a self evaluation to review their performance.

We have undertaken a trial of the pack, which was described as “… really good .. the questions were relevant and meaningful … It made us all think about how our LINk is working and how we can make it better…”.

For further details, see our flyer: LINk SA promo

Academy Trust Governance

February 15, 2011

A briefing on academy trust governance for school governors considering conversion to academy status is now available in our ‘Resources’ section.

To read the full briefing …

Public Health White Paper

December 4, 2010

Mike has co-authored a brief summary and initial response to the Public Health White Paper, Healthy Lives, Healthy People – you may download a copy here.

Schools White Paper

November 27, 2010

Mike has produced a concise summary briefing of the key points in the Government’s Schools White Paper, The Importance of Teaching. You can download a copy of the briefing here.

Response to Health White Paper

October 7, 2010

I have produced and submitted to the Department of Health a response to the Coalition Government’s Health White Paper Equity and excellence: Liberating the NHS, on behalf of Tamarind Chambers.

It focuses on aspects of the White Paper affecting public engagement and accountability. It is particularly relevant to the perspectives of participants in public and patient involvement mechanisms including Local Involvement Networks, scrutiny bodies and local authority councillors, local voluntary and community organisations, patient and carers groups.

Whilst welcoming the general aims of the White Paper to make the NHS more patient centred and give citizens a greater say, the report questions whether this will really be achieved by these proposals.
The report says that more needs to be done to give citizens, as distinct from patients, an effective voice and that autonomy and freedom must be tempered by transparency and effective local accountability; strongly recommends that GP Commissioning Consortia will require more rigorous governance and clear local accountability and that the power of local authorities to scrutinise NHS decision and services on behalf of their local community should be retained; and raises concerns about the extent and speed of the changes, calling for continued dialogue and consultation as the proposals are developed and implemented.

The response has been informed by listening to a range of stakeholders, including patients, LINk participants, councillors and local voluntary and community organisations during the consultation period, and experience, as an elected councillor and community activist, and working to support and promote the development of community engagement, scrutiny and governance in the public, not-for-profit, voluntary and community sector.

You can download a copy of the response here – HealthWhitePaper response

I have produced further analysis and briefing materials about the Health White Paper, which can be found on the documents page.

Supporting Local Involvement Networks

June 24, 2010

I have worked with a number of Local Involvement Networks (LINks), providing support and advice to LINk members and Host officers, to help them get established and develop their structures, processes and governance, facilitate meetings and events and to provide briefings and training.

I have example and model procedures, policies and guidance notes, covering all aspects of LINk activity.

I can also provide briefings and advice on the new Health White Paper and the implications for LINks of the transition to HealthWatch. Some of these can be found on the documents page.

Mike facilitating an intensive two-day training course for LINk reps on enter and view