Connecting with people by hcj


                                     with people
                                     NHS Sefton Communications Strategy: an integrated
                                     approach to communicating and engaging with
                                     employees, stakeholders, patients and the public

                   document title:   Communications and Engagement Strategy framework
Version control

                         author:     Mark Morrison
                        version:     4.3
                           date:     15 Aug 2008; amended 16 Sept 2008
                  change control:    Draft strategy inc input from Board: key stakeholders; key messages;
                                     resilience; resources.
                         filepath:   marxmac:users:markmorrison:documents: w o r k: s p a r k:sparkprojects:i n t e r i m:sefton
                                     pct:sefton p2:spct strategy 4:connecting with people.doc
    Connecting with people – NHS Sefton Communications Strategy: an
    integrated approach to communicating and engaging with employees,
    stakeholders, patients and the public

                section   title                                     page
                    1 Document purpose and definitions                  3
                    2 Our communications charter                        4
                    3 Why we communicate                                5
                    4 Who are our stakeholders and audiences            8
                    5 What we communicate for                       11
                    6 How we communicate                            12
                    A Communications and engagement action plan     16
                    B Internal communications standards             18
                    C External communications standards             20
                    D Engagement standards                          23

2     Connecting with people – NHS Sefton Communications Strategy
1   Purpose and scope

    Sefton PCT is the lead health organisation for an area with a population of around 280,000
    people and is responsible for funding and ensuring the provision of all National Health
    Services for the people of Sefton. As the leader for health in Sefton we are committed to
    communicating well with our colleagues and partner organisations, patients and local
    Sefton PCT connects with people and in many ways through communications and
    engagement activities designed to inform people about the organisation and involve them in
    helping us to make decisions. This document sets out our principles and standards for
    communications both inside and outside the organisation to ensure these connections are
    as effective as possible.
    Starting with a public commitment in our Communications Charter, this document is an
    agenda – set by the PCT Board and Executive – for everyone in Sefton PCT to work to and

    As a strategic policy, this document will inform and control a range of operational standards,
    which are appended to this document:
         Internal communications
         External and media communications
         Engagement

1.1 Definitions
    It‟s important to be sure that we are clear about the language we are using. Communication
    is a very broad term used to describe the exchange of information. In this strategy we use
    the following definitions:

     Communication is the way we share and promote information clearly, promptly
     and effectively.

     Engagement is the way we actively involve people in a real dialogue about policy
     and service decisions that affect them and their quality of life.
     Engagement has three main forms:
       Information collection - assembling information about attitudes from
        surveys and research - usually answering simple, closed questions.
       Consultation – a formal process, often in writing, to seek peoples‟ views on
        particular issues
       Participation - working with stakeholders in an ongoing dialogue that
        involves them in the organisation‟s decision-making.
     Stakeholders are people and organisations - like employees, patients and their
     families or organisations - that are involved with a body and have interests in it.

    DRAFT STRATEGY August 2008                                                                 3
    2   Our communications charter

        Sefton PCT is committed to commissioning and providing accessible, relevant and
        responsive health services and to working with local people to improve the quality of life in
        the borough. We want to keep you informed and ask your views about our services and life
        in Sefton, so this Charter is our commitment to communicating and engaging with you as
        well as possible.

        We believe in…
          Keeping you well informed about our services and performance
          Clearly explaining our decisions and actions
          Asking for your views and ideas – with opportunities for you to have your say

        Our communications and engagement will be…
          Clear and accessible for everyone
          Polite and helpful
          Accurate and timely
          Relevant and appropriate
          Responsive

        How we will inform and invite your views…
        We will use the most appropriate method to communicate with you:
          If we need to contact you personally about our service it will be by letter, email or by
          If we are communicating information that affects everyone in the area we may use…
            the local media – newspapers, TV or radio,
            posters or information in our offices
            our website –
          If we are asking for your views we may use…
            the local media – newspapers, TV or radio,
            posters or information in our offices
            our website –
            research companies who may contact you on our behalf

        Our target response times:
        We have standards for dealing with our direct communications with you…
          We will always respond in the most appropriate way – usually in the way you contacted
          If you write to us we will acknowledge your written enquiries within 2 working days and
            provide a full reply within 20 working days of receiving your letter. Our reply will usually
            be in writing and if appropriate by telephone. If we cannot answer your letter within that
            time we will send an acknowledgement to explain the delay and when you can expect a
            full answer.
          Respond to emails within 2 working days.
          Respond to telephone enquiries within 2 working days.

        signature                                signature
        Paul Acres                               Dr Leigh Griffin
        Chair                                    Chief Executive

        Tell us what you think of our communications:
        We constantly strive to improve the way we communicate and engage with you and we
        value your opinions. We want to know what you think about our communication. Please let
        us know by contacting PALS on 0800 218 2333 or email us at

4       Connecting with people – NHS Sefton Communications Strategy
3   Why we communicate

    Sefton PCT is committed to developing a positive reputation for commissioning and
    providing accessible, relevant and responsive health services and for working with local
    people to improve quality of life in Sefton. To do this we need to tell people about our work
    and performance; celebrate our successes; ask them for their views on our services and
    what they think will improve health in Sefton; and, tell them how we are responding to what
    they tell us. Our services must be built on a real insight into Sefton, its people and their
    health needs, which can only be developed if we inform, engage and interact with people
    The health sector is a complex arena for communications and engagement, with a wide
    range of people who have a stake in what we do. We believe that being an effective
    provider and commissioner of health services means we must build strong and productive
    relationships with our stakeholders. Like any relationship, ours will be fostered by good
    communication – an ongoing dialogue that informs and involves our stakeholders and
    Good communication and engagement is not simply the responsibility of a central team –
    effective communication and engagement begins with the leadership team and is part of the
    day job for everyone in the organisation.

3.1 Our vision for communications and engagement

       Sefton PCT wants to be a people-focused, communicating organisation that
       people think…
        keeps them well informed about our services and the benefits we provide
        tells them how we spend money to deliver better health in Sefton and about our
         performance against our promises
        encourages and empowers them to influence their local health services
        listens to and acts on the views of local people
        keeps them informed about how we evolve our services in response to their views

3.2 Context
    There is a wide range of legislation and other influences that shape our communications
    and engagement…

    External context
    PCTs are required by Government to engage their stakeholders in shaping their local health
    services through effective engagement. Section 242 of the 2006 National Health Service
    (NHS) Act states that: “NHS organisations are required to make arrangements to involve
    and consult patients and the public in:
         Planning of the provision of services
         The development and consideration of proposals for changes in the way those
           services are provided, and
         Decisions to be made by the NHS organisation affecting the operation of services”
    World Class Commissioning – places engagement at the core of the competencies
    required of a world-class commissioner of health services. PCTs will have to engage
    stakeholders in a meaningful, open and honest way, utilising a variety of different methods.
    They will need to be proactive in seeking out the views and experiences of the public,
    patients, their carers and others. All PCTs will be assessed against these competencies for
    the first time in late 2008 and at regular intervals from then on.
    High Quality Care For All – NHS Next Stage Review Final Report, 30 June 2008 -
    places good communications and welcoming feedback at the core of the NHS values. In
    the first draft NHS Constitution Lord Darzi sets out four pledges to all NHS staff. The
    fourth pledge is that the NHS will strive to actively engage all staff in decisions that affect
    them and the services they provide, individually and through representatives. All staff will be

    DRAFT STRATEGY August 2008                                                                  5
    empowered to put forward ways to deliver better and safer services for patients and their
    Healthier Horizons, NHS Northwest’s change framework launched in May 2008, is the
    product of a wide-ranging clinical review of health services across the region. As a strategic
    change framework this document identifies reputation management and „Listening,
    understanding and tailoring what we offer‟ as drivers of that change and therefore must
    shape our strategy.
    Sefton Council’s Health Overview and Scrutiny Committee has the power to scrutinise
    health services its part of the role in health improvement and reducing health inequalities for
    the area and its inhabitants.
    This scrutiny is carried out in public and includes:
           scrutinising NHS policy, service planning and operations in Sefton
           being consulted on all proposals for major changes to health services in Sefton
           ability to call SPCT managers to give information about services and decisions
           reporting their findings and recommendations
           the ability to refer matters to the Secretary of State.

    Sefton LINk – the Local Involvement Network will offer opportunities for engagement and it
    is important that these are used to their full potential.
    Sefton Local Involvement Network (LINk) is a network of local people, organisations and
    groups that volunteer to help improve health and adult social care services within Sefton.
    Their website states that Sefton LINk aims to “find out what people want, investigate issues
    and use its statutory powers to hold services to account. Sefton LINk can request
    information and get a response to its reports and recommendations and providers will be
    expected to allow appointed and trained LINk members to view services and visit premises.
    Sefton LINk can also refer matters to Sefton Scrutiny & Review (Health and Social Care)
    Committee and get a response.”
    Sefton Local Strategic Partnership - working with our Local Strategic Partnership is a
    significant engagement process in itself and we should make the most of the potential for
    broader public engagement that the partnership approach offers.

    Our organisational context
    Sefton Primary Care Trust is responsible for funding and ensuring the provision of all
    national health services for the people of Sefton. We are here to make Sefton a healthier
    place to live and a place where people can be assured of world-class health care.
    Our mission is to improve health and reduce inequalities in health. These two key
    strategic aims are sustained by three supporting strategic aims which are to ensure
    quality, provide value and involve local people
    Our vision is that:
         Life expectancy in Sefton will be at or above the national average by 2013.
         Life expectancy will improve fastest in the most deprived areas to close the gap
           between the most disadvantaged and the most fortunate in our population.
         We shall improve the quality and accessibility of services by bringing them closer to
           people‟s homes wherever this is clinically appropriate and cost-effective
         While obtaining value for money, we shall focus our budget where it is most needed.

    Communications and engagement is at the core of delivering our mission and realising our
    vision. This communications strategy is designed to support and enable our strategic plans
    and priorities.
    Although Sefton PCT works within a national framework of legislation and standards we will
    also deliver a local approach to our dialogue with our service users and local people, our
    employees and health professionals and our stakeholders.

6   Connecting with people – NHS Sefton Communications Strategy
3.3 Understanding our communications challenges
    The challenge for communications in all primary care trusts is considerable and complex:
    research by Ipsos MORI, the global research organisation who are closely involved in
    health issues, suggest that 82% of people support the idea of involvement, yet ultimately
    only two people in a hundred actually respond or get involved. Further research and
    analysis by Ipsos MORI on local authority communications found a direct link between how
    well informed people are about local services and how satisfied they are with them.
    Ipsos MORI suggest that people who feel well informed tend to be more positive about a
    wide range of issues and the organisation that informs them well.
    So the real dilemma is how to drive up the response to engagement as well as maintain
    and increase involvement? The straightforward solution is to ensure we consistently
    complete the communications cycle of…

    Within this broader context we have also identified the key local challenges for our
    communications and engagement activities, which are…
       enabling a communicating culture in a complex and diverse organisation; we know we
          must deliver internal and management communications that enables an open
          dialogue across the organisation – conveying information that people need to know
          and revealing information that should be shared;
        helping our stakeholders and audiences understand our role as the local leader for
         health in Sefton and clearly deliver our Public Health messages: we know we must
         deliver a brand strategy and local voice within NHS guidelines that distinctly
         positions Sefton PCT;
        maximising the results of our engagement activity: we know we must manage and
         learn from the knowledge gained to shape our plans and services; and
        engaging local people more in transforming local health: we know we must use all
         communications channels to build a stronger, positive profile for health and
         Sefton PCT in the borough;
        ensure that everyone in the organisation understands that informing, engaging and
         interacting with people well are core components of their work to develop our
         communications culture further.

    DRAFT STRATEGY August 2008                                                                7
    4   Who are our stakeholders and audiences?

        Sefton PCT has a broad range of relationships with stakeholders who influence the
        organisation and others who may be affected by the organisation and its services.
        Our communications and engagement must build strong relationships with all our
        stakeholders. So it is important that we know who they are and how we should
        communicate and engage with them.
        Each of our stakeholders has different communications needs and will engage with us in
        their own way. So, we must provide communications and engagement opportunities that
        meet their diverse needs. The following mapping is an initial attempt at analysis but we
        must design two-way dialogue into all our communications and engagement activities to
        continually increase our insight into the needs of all our stakeholders. Over time this will
        build a powerful knowledge base that can refine and focus our communications and
        engagement actions.

    4.1 Our stakeholders
        Broadly our stakeholders are…
                    our employees and health professionals
                    our services users - patient, their relatives and local people
                    our local partners in the public, private, voluntary and community sectors
                    the media
                    the private sector
                    our NHS and government colleagues - from Strategic Health Authority to the

        An overview of our stakeholders would include…
        Sector                    Organisation/entity                          People
        Local people             The public                                   Individuals and groupings
                                 Patients                                     Individuals and groupings
                                 Patient’s relatives                          Individuals and groupings
                                 Community representatives                    Local councillors + MPs
                                                                               user groups, residents associations
                                 special interest groups                      Individuals and groupings
        Health sector            Sefton PCT employees
                                 other frontline healthcare providers         Doctors, dentists and clinicians;
                                                                               nursing and healthcare teams
                                 Strategic Health Authority                   Board members + officers
                                 Government - Department of Health            Minister + civil servants
                                  • National Health Service                    Auditors + monitors
                                  • Healthcare Commission                      Darzi review group
                                 regional PCTs                                Board members and Executive teams
                                 Voluntary services                           Volunteers, trust members
        Local partner            Sefton Local Strategic Partnership           Board members, members + officers
        organisations            Sefton Council                               Executive, Members, officers
                                 Voluntary and community sector               Representatives and members
                                 Universities and FE colleges                 Board members + Officers
                                 Emergency services                           Police, Fire & Rescue
        Private sector           Chamber of Commerce                          Board + membership
                                 Major employers                              Management and employees
                                 SMEs                                         Management and employees
        Media                    Local newspapers                             News desk, special interest
                                                                               Reporters, Editors
                                 Regional and National press, TV and          News desk, special interest reporters,
                                  radio                                        editors
                                 Web news providers                           News search engines
                                 Specialist health/public sector publications Feature writers, bloggers
8       Connecting with people – NHS Sefton Communications Strategy
   Sector                                 Organisation/entity                             People
    Regional,                            Government Office Northwest
    National and                         Regional Assembly
    international                        Northwest Development Agency
                                         Government (wider range of depts.)
                                         Investors and Visitors

4.2 Stakeholder mapping
   Each of our stakeholder groups has a range of influencing factors that shape the
   relationship we have with them, this includes their…
        interest in Sefton PCT and health
        motivation towards Sefton PCT and health
        information needs
        current opinion/status
        influencers
   We should also consider the people that each of our stakeholders may influence and the
   way in which they do so.

   A simplified approach to graphical stakeholder mapping, in a power/interest matrix...
                h i g h



                                                                                                                SPCT Staff
                                                                             Local              GONW
              p o w e r

                                                                                     Bloggers          Authority
                                                                                        local          LSP            patients
              i n f l u e n c e

                l o w


                                  l o w                             i n t e r e s t                                  h i g h
   This graphical representation indicates that we have a range of stakeholders with interest
   and power who we need to communicate and engage with. It also shows that there are
   stakeholders with low interest and little power or influence, however these are people that
   we must influence to improve health in Sefton. Stakeholders in this low/low quadrant are
   key targets for our communications and engagement activity and they will require resource
   intensive, high impact actions.

   DRAFT STRATEGY August 2008                                                                                                    9
     4.3 Key stakeholder groups
         We have a special relationship with some of our stakeholder groups…
         Clinicians and health professionals – effective continual engagement with our clinical
         colleagues is essential to achieve our ambitious goals in improving the commissioning and
         delivery of health care. We must also ensure engagement of the full range of clinicians
         including all clinical groups - nursing, medical and allied health professionals.
         Our current approach includes…
              the work of our Professional Executive Committee and the links that that gives to
                local professional networks.
              a regular briefing publication – Vital Signs - specifically for Primary care clinicians,
                which we use to deliver key messages and invite comment. A PEC clinician is
                closely involved in advising on the content of this publication
              we have established a system of “Liaison” directors for every GP practice in Sefton
                as a continual engagement with clinicians
              a specific support budget for clinical engagement
         This engagement will be fully embedded in the way we work, which will take a considered
         and structured approach, and will involve resource and commitment. We know we must…
                identify more resource and provide more formal structure to clinical engagement
                strengthen the involvement of the PCT in local professional fora
                refresh and redevelop the Clinical Champions initiative.
                establish a system for improved involvement with clinical colleagues in local
                 secondary care and other provider trusts

         Voluntary and community sector - our key relationship with the Third Sector plays a
         significant role across some of these stakeholder groupings. Our stakeholders in the
         voluntary sector are regarded as a key partner, critical friend and enabler. As such they will
         be key to our communications both as recipient and channel for much of our
         communications output.

     4.4 Equality and diversity
         Sefton PCT adopted an Equality and Diversity Strategy in December 2006. It set a clear
         overall aim to “promote equality in health and service provision for everybody in Sefton.”
         This Communications Strategy is designed to support that aim and ensure that our
         communications and engagement meets the needs of our all stakeholders and all the
         communities we serve.
         This strategy will be Equality Impact Assessed and amended if required to ensure that it
         does not discriminate against any of our service users or staff.

10       Connecting with people – NHS Sefton Communications Strategy
5   What we communicate for

    Sefton PCT has a range of reasons to communicate:
              communicating with people directly about their health and treatments
              sharing information about our services and performance
              promoting healthy living
              managing difficult situations
              celebrating success
              asking people for their views and attitudes

    It is important that we know what we are communicating for to ensure the message is
    accurate, the communications method is appropriate and the right audience is targeted.

5.1 Our communications objectives
    Our communications objectives are focused on tackling our key local communications
    Our communications and engagement will…
      1       Inform and engage with our people in Sefton PCT to ensure the organisation can
              deliver its services and initiatives - employees, Staffside colleagues, frontline
              providers, non-executive Board members are informed about how the organisation
              works, know about performance and decisions that affect them and have
              opportunities to shape our future.
      2       Raise the profile of health and Sefton PCT to deliver clear messages to support
              healthier living and build confidence in local health services using clear branding and
              key messaging.
      3       Involve our external stakeholders in shaping the organisation‟s work and future
              development through effective engagement that builds strong, well-informed
              relationships and a positive two-way dialogue.
      4       Promote Sefton PCT’s work to improve the quality of life in Sefton – our
              communications ensure that Sefton PCT is recognised as a leading partner in the
              development and regeneration of Sefton and Merseyside.
      5       Maximise the impact of our communications by delivering to the highest standards
              - building our NHS brand within national guidance and appropriate frameworks;
              managing our communications and engagement resources well; and, employing best
              practice solutions including emerging technology enabled communications.

    Underlining and supporting these objectives is a corporate commitment to developing our
    communications culture to ensure that everyone in the organisation, or who has a stake in it
    or who comes into contact with Sefton PCT has a good experience of our information,
    engagement or interaction. This will be driven by the leadership team, facilitated by our
    professionals and delivered by everyone in Sefton PCT.
    Our communications objectives are developed into a core work programme on page 16.

5.2 Our key messages
    Our communications will be focussed through a set of key messages determined by the
    Strategic Plan vision, values and objectives. These messages will be adaptable to audience
    and circumstance and will be reviewed alongside the evolution of our Strategic Plan. Smart
    messages will also be tracked over time as part of our reputation evaluation.
    A key message matrix will be designed including adaptations for audiences/usage.

    DRAFT STRATEGY August 2008                                                                    11
     6   How we communicate

         How we inform, engage and interact with people has a direct effect on what they think of
         Sefton PCT - our reputation is built on positive engagement and good communications and
         the ordinary, everyday encounters that we have with people.
         Our relationship with our stakeholders - especially our employees and health professionals,
         along with the public - is shaped by the way that we engage them in a meaningful and open
         dialogue. Local people, our employees and partners are bombarded with a huge range of
         health messages as well as a huge spectrum of other communications in their daily lives –
         so it is crucial that we take a managed approach to ensure that the important messages get

     6.1 Our communications and engagement approach
         Guiding our approach to communications and engagement is the need to ensure it is
         relevant and appropriate. So, before we undertake any communications and engagement
         activity it is important to answer the following questions…
              what do we want our communications and engagement to achieve?
              who are we communicating and engaging with?
              what will successful communications and engagement deliver?
         If we can’t answer these then we should question the need for communications and

     6.2 Our communications and engagement principles
         When we communicate we must work to a set of principles that set the standard and tone,
         these are…
            Don’t just do it - ask yourself why and what the benefit will be for the stakeholder and
            the organisation.
            People-focused – delivering information to our stakeholders and service users in
            accessible format and when they need it;
            Impartial and objective – delivering clear messages to allow people to make up their
            own minds informed by our communications;
            Clear and accessible – communicating in a format and language that is appropriate the
            message and the audience – that means plain, jargon-free English at all times and in a
            language appropriate to our hard-to-reach groups and minorities whenever appropriate.
            All our communications and engagement should be readily available on our website or
            Sharing and informative – giving people in the organisation the information they need –
            to do their job and for their wellbeing – before they read or hear it anywhere else;
            Open and engaging – offering opportunities for feedback, ensuring we listen to the
            response to our communications and engagement and adjust our approach when
            Branded – consistent use of our NHS visual identity and local brand character, design
            and photographic style;
            Authoritative and excellent – only the best will do. Our communications must be – and
            be seen to be – the standard for the NHS and we must aim for national recognition.

         Above all consultation fatigue and public perception of spin is real so we must...
            Work better together - working with other local service providers to inform or listen to
            service users will produce better results. When people receive uncoordinated
            communication and engagement by a range of agencies they can become frustrated and
            indifferent to it. Although joint approaches can be difficult, the benefits are worth the
            investment - improving perceptions and even saving time and money.

12       Connecting with people – NHS Sefton Communications Strategy
6.3 Targeting our communications
    We differentiate our communications activity to suit our stakeholders and audiences. Our
    corporate communications and engagement use different methods and tools to inform and
    involve our various stakeholders and audiences.
    The following is an overview of our channel approach for our stakeholders and audiences:
                stakeholder/audience         attitude                      approach
                patients + relatives          interested/influential         direct correspondence/ telephone

                                                                              social marketing
                                                                              literature and website
                                                                              feedback mechanisms +PALS
                                                                              qualitative research
                active health service         interested/influential         literature and website
                users                                                         social marketing
                                                                              frontline information/posters
                                                                              feedback mechanisms +PALS
                                                                              qualitative research
                health service non-           not interested/no              social marketing
                users                          influence                      advertising and pr direct
                                                                              literature and website
                                                                              correspondence/ telephone
                                                                              PALS
                                                                              quantitative research
                local people - general        some interest/influence        social marketing
                                                                              advertising and pr direct
                                                                              literature and website
                                                                              correspondence/ telephone
                                                                              feedback mechanisms +PALS
                                                                              qualitative research
                Sefton PCT                    interested/influential         management communications

                employees                                                     direct correspondence/ telephone
                                                                              briefings, literature and intranet
                                                                              qualitative and quantitative
                                                                              networking
                other frontline healthcare    interested/influential         management communications
                providers                                                     direct correspondence/ telephone
                                                                              briefings, literature and intranet
                                                                              qualitative and quantitative
                                                                              networking
                Strategic Health Authority    interested/influential         direct correspondence/ telephone
                                                                              briefings and website
                Government - Department       interested/influential         direct correspondence/ telephone
                of Health and Healthcare                                      briefings and website
                Commission                                                    networking
                Voluntary services            interested/influential         direct correspondence/ telephone
                                                                              direct correspondence/ telephone
                                                                              briefings and website
                                                                              networking
                regional PCTs                 some interest/influence        briefings and website
                                                                              networking
                Sefton LSP                      some interest/influence      direct correspondence/ telephone

                Sefton Council                  some interest/influence      briefings and website
                Third sector                    some interest/influence      networking
                Emergency services              some interest/influence
                Local newspapers                some interest/influence    Media releases and briefings

                Regional and National           some interest/influence    briefings and website
                press, TV and radio                                         networking
                Web news providers            some interest/influence
                Specialist health/public      some interest/influence
                sector publications

    DRAFT STRATEGY August 2008                                                                                 13
         Over time, informed by the feedback from our communications cycle, we will build a clearer
         and more tightly focused picture of our stakeholders and their communications needs and
         preferences. We will then be able to tailor for our communications activity specifically for
         each of our audiences – by community, age, gender, interest, etc - when required.

     6.4 Our communications methodology and channels
         Delivering our communications objectives requires us to use a range of methods and
         channels to get our messages across and engender useful dialogue. We understand that a
         uniform approach will not succeed so we will tailor our communications to our audiences
         and stakeholders. The channels and methods we use include…
         Management communications – internal and external communications start with the
         organisation‟s leadership team. It is vitally important that employees are well-informed and
         Sefton PCT uses a range of communications to support them.
         Direct communications – letters and other correspondence and telephone contact are the
         most direct, authoritative and credible forms of communication when personally addressed
         to the recipient. It is important that letters are written in plain English and available in other
         languages and formats required by individuals.
         Social marketing – increasingly the public sector is using social marketing techniques to
         convey crucial health messages, seeking to achieve behavioural change. Social marketing
         uses customer insight – understanding of people and their behaviours – and deploying a
         range of marketing communications techniques to change behaviours towards more
         healthy lifestyle choices. It is said to be a mix of social sciences and marketing and is being
         developed as a key tool in Public Health by The National Social Marketing Centre
         established by the Government as an independent Centre to increase understanding of,
         and capacity and skills in, social marketing.
         Media relations - building and maintaining good and open communications with local,
         regional and national media is important to influence a positive reputation. We use press
         releases, briefing and interviews and make information available on our website to support
         a positive and open relationship with the media.
         A more detailed list of our communications activity is shown on page 20.

     6.5 Delivering on our promise
         Targets - Although there are currently no formal national performance indictors for NHS
         communications, we will determine a set of targets and provide regular reports on
         Internal targets

              Our colleagues across Sefton PCT feel well informed about the organisation and are
               aware of our vision and priorities;
              they receive a regular e-bulletin briefing and have a monthly face-to-face team
               briefing within five working days of its monthly publication.
              they have access to and use our web and intranet sites to get information for their
              People throughout the organisation are asked their views, listened and responded to
               - we will have an engaged workforce.
         The public and service users

              All our communications with local people are published to corporate standards to
               make sure they are clear, professional, accessible and value for money.
              Local people and service users say that Sefton PCT keeps them well informed
               about its services.
              Local people are aware of the range of services Sefton PCT provides.
              Our communications will be delivered in a range of formats to meet their needs.
              All communications and information are available on the Sefton PCT‟s website 24
               hours a day, 365 days of the year.
14       Connecting with people – NHS Sefton Communications Strategy
6.6 Communications resilience
       Effective communications in a crisis is critical to business continuity and reputation
       management. We will prepare a Communications Resilience Protocol that identifies…
            emergency communications processes and resources;
            identifies communications lead and media spokespeople;
            training and exercise requirements; and
            directory of key contacts including out of business hours.
       This plan will be closely linked to out corporate continuity planning and specific plans such
       as our Pandemic Influenza Communications Plan.

6.7 Coordinating and measuring our communications and engagement
       This complex agenda must be coordinated and delivered effectively. The leadership team
       has a central role in directing the management of communications and engagement and
       shaping the core communications and engagement agenda. This will help to embed regular
       discussion of communications and engagement opportunities and challenges at all levels of
       the organisation to ensure a flow of information through and to the specialist teams.
       Regular reporting of communications and engagement activity and outcomes to Executive
       team will help to assess progress and identify further prospects for communications and
       engagement. Communications and engagement should also be considered as a key
       agenda item at all management and project meetings across the organisation to highlight
       communications opportunities and risks.

6.8 Communications resources
       Although we understand that communications and engagement are part of everyone‟s role
       in Sefton PCT, we have a core communications and engagement team of within the Chief
       Executive‟s team to support and develop our communications. A reputation audit and
       development plan has identified the need for additional resource in the form of a media
       relations officer and there will be a requirement for some resources to enhance our
       engagement and social marketing capacity.
       A Communications Resource Plan will be agreed as part of our annual business planning

6.9 Action planning
       A core action plan has been developed for communications and engagement activity – see
       appendix A. This will be expanded into annual operational team plans.

6.10       Monitoring and evaluation
       A corporate working group will meet to support the coordination of communications and
       engagement activity across directorates and ultimately in partnership with other
       organisations. This group will seek to ensure opportunities are maximised by linking
       activities across the organisation.
       We must be responsive to the outcomes of our communications and engagement and
       evolve our approach and our plans. The working group will help the core team ensure
            Annual Communications and Engagement Action Plans are produced;
            A calendar of communications and engagement activity is developed and
            The knowledge generated by engagement is captured, shared and Sefton PCT can
             learn from it;
            Feedback from engagement shapes new and better approaches to future
            Best practice communications and engagement methods and channels are used;
            Quarterly reports are available for the Executive and Board; and
            The annual Communications and Engagement Action Plans are evaluated and
       DRAFT STRATEGY August 2008                                                                 15
16   Connecting with people – NHS Sefton Communications Strategy
    Sefton PCT Communications Strategy - Appendix A

A      Annual core work plan                                                                                     2008/9

    objective      Action                               measure                                           who        target
    Inform and     1.1 Determine employer/internal       Employer branding commissioned and               HR      Oct 08
    engage our         brand and core messages for        agreed                                                   Nov 08
    people             employees                         Implementation including key document and       HR +
                                                          intranet page for employees                   Comms
                   1.2 Enhance management                Implement monthly cascade briefing and          HR +     Aug 08
                       communications and                 refine e-bulletins                            Comms
                       engagement channels
                   1.3 Deliver annual internal           Linked to staff survey and other survey          HR     ongoing
                       communications and                 outcomes
                       engagement plan and
                       Partnership Forum
                   1.4 Design and implement a staff      Scheme design proposal to Executive              HR      Sep 08
                       suggestion scheme                 Implementation                                           Oct 08
                   1.5 Improve direct channels for       Review, design and implement a corporate      Comms      Sep 08
                       internal communications            notice board for key locations                  + HR
                       including a managed notice        Publish corporate info and news listing for   Comms      Monthly
                       board information system           notice boards

    Raise the      2.1 Deliver a strong and              Design standards for all documents and        Comms      Sep 08
    profile            recognisable local brand for       environments                                   + MM
                       Sefton PCT – inc core             Publish brand and ID manual and               Comms      Sep 08
                       messages                           implement standards                            + MM     onwards
                   2.2 Design and deliver quality        New directory of services published – Your    Comms      April 08
                       statutory and other                Guide
                       publications that                 plus Annual Report and other statutory        Comms
                       communicate our brand              publications
                   2.3 Ensure customers recognise        Encourage positive feedback as well as          Pals     Nov 08
                       Sefton PCT as a provider of        formal complaints through enhanced CCC
                       quality services and positive      system
                   2.4 Ensure a strong media             Coverage of press release content in          Comms        50 pa
                       profile for Sefton PCT             appropriate media
                                                         Deliver monthly media briefing and analysis   Comms     ongoing
                                                          for Executive Team

    Involve        3.1 Establish a uniform               Publish Engagement Toolkit documentation        Eng
    external           approach to engagement
    stakeholders       activity for Sefton PCT
                   3.2 Explore potential for a public    Review best practice and local potential -      Eng       Oct 08
                       affiliation / PCT membership       prepare report to enable decision to
                       scheme                             progress
                   3.3 Develop feedback                  Prepare standards approaches for feedback     Comms      Sep 08
                       opportunities in appropriate                                                      + Eng
                       communications tools
                   3.4 Identify and implement            Corporate consultation register and             Eng      Nov 08
                       appropriate knowledge              knowledge management system in place
                       management approach for
                       engagement outcomes

    Promote our    4.1 Promote Sefton PCT’s              Recognition of Sefton PCT as a key leader        PH     Ongoing
     objective      Action                               measure                                           who       target
     work in            activities to improve Sefton      in the borough by partners, stakeholders       comms
     Sefton             and its quality of life           and the public
                    4.2 Support and promote the           Papers available on          Comms    Ongoing
                        work of the Board and             Attendance at public component of Board
                        Executive                          meetings

                    4.3 Identify and maximise             Increased joint engagement initiatives        Comms    Ongoing
                        opportunities for partnership                                                     + Eng
                        working in communications
                        and engagement

     Deliver the    5.1 Design and publish a public       Charter agreed and launched                   Comms      Oct 08
     highest            commitment to information,        Annual review of achievements against the
     standards          engagement and interaction         charter published
                    5.1 Develop communications            Involve team in developing the function,      Comms    Ongoing
                        and engagement teams and           design training and mentoring                  + Eng
                        build capacity                    Recruit Communications Officer                          Sep 08
                                                          Identify resources for engagement                       Sep 08
                    5.2 Ensure all corporate              All legislation and standards complied with   Comms       100%
                        communications complies           Minimum two award submissions each for
                        with legislation, national and     communications and engagement pa
                        corporate standards and
                        identify opportunities to
                        submit our work for awards
                    5.3 Manage content of our             Design and implement web communications       Comms    continual
                        website to provide 24/7            standards
                        opportunities for local           Our web content meets E-envoy, E-GIF and               continual
                        people to access PCT               FOI requirements
                    5.4 Embed corporate working           Implement communications and                  Comms     Sep 08
                        group to coordinate                engagement calendar of activity                + Eng
                        communications and                Manage the knowledge generated by
                        engagement                         communications and engagement activity

18      Connecting with people – NHS Sefton Communications Strategy
B   Our internal communications standards

    We want to be the best in all we do, to inspire understanding and respect, and to be
    an organisation for which people are proud to work. Building a Better Future
    Sefton PCT is committed to good communications and engagement with employees and
    our people to support effective working, organisational development and the best possible
B.1 Our internal communications and engagement commitment
    Sefton PCT communicates with people in the organisation in many ways and we are
    determined to increase and improve our internal communications as far as we can. Most
    importantly, we are determined to engage our people in a meaningful ongoing dialogue that
    will help us to improve the way we work together and improve our services to people who
    need them.
    Our Staff Survey suggests that job satisfaction in Sefton PCT is above average for UK
    primary care trusts. We want to build on that and ensure that everyone has a positive and
    productive work life and a good work/life balance.
    We appreciate that our organisational performance is built on the efforts of everyone who
    works for Sefton PCT and that motivation and engagement are essential to our
    performance. We understand that our people have differing communications needs and
    opportunities so we will tailor our communications and engagement methods to ensure that
    everyone is well informed and has an equal opportunity to have their say.
    So we will develop the best internal communications we can; provide opportunities to listen
    to peoples‟ views and ideas; and, encourage more face-to-face communications with line
    managers. We want everyone who works and contributes to Sefton PCT to be
    informed and involved.

B.2 Our internal engagement aim
    We aim to provide opportunities for everyone in Sefton PCT to have their say and feel
    involved. We want to ensure that everyone in Sefton PCT can contribute to thinking
    about the way we work and improve our services.
    Our people - employees and people who contribute to the organisation by volunteering -
    can expect a high quality of communications and engagement from Sefton PCT. We have
    agreed standards for our internal engagement…
     a. Planned – we are clear why we are engaging, plan our approach, put adequate
        resources into the process and ensure that our engagement process is timely and co-
        ordinated with other communications processes.
     b. Together – we work with our employees and their recognised Trades Union
        representatives through our Partnership Forum.
     c. Equitable and inclusive - our engagement is appropriate and accessible by all.
     d. Communicated – all engagement will be supported by effective communications that
        reinforces the cycle of inform>listen>understand>respond>feedback.
     e. Learning – manage the outcomes from engagement to ensure the organisation uses
        the knowledge gained effectively, manages its data appropriately and improves its
        engagement processes through evaluation.

B.3 Our internal communications aim

    Our internal communications aim is to deliver communications that keep our workforce
    informed and involved, so that everyone in Sefton PCT should be well informed
    about things that affect the organisation and their roles in it.

    So, our standards for internal communications are that they should be…
          a. Informative - we will ensure that all communications are informative and produced in
             clear, accessible language and delivered as soon as possible;
          b. Web enabled – all communications, policies and reports will be available on Sefton
             PCT‟s Intranet
          c. Celebrate success - we encourage people and teams to promote their initiatives,
             services and successes through our communications channels.
          d. Open - we provide a range of channels and platforms for two-way communications
             from electronic to paper-based where needed. We also promote face-to-face
             opportunities for employees to hear the senior team speak.
          e. Two-way – we will develop opportunities for feedback and dialogue wherever possible
             in our communications.

     B.4 How we communicate and engage with our people
         There is a wide range of internal communications and engagement opportunities in place
         across Sefton PCT. We understand that we must provide clear information that is relevant
         to people. We also realise that not everyone has access to all of these opportunities so the
         Executive will consult staff and consider introducing:
              A regular face-to-face Team Briefing - an opportunity for employees and their
                manager to meet using a corporate briefing agenda and local information - plus the
                opportunity to raise issues that will be forwarded to management for discussion and
              A Staff Suggestion scheme providing an electronic and written format opportunity
                for staff to send in their ideas for service improvements, innovations and comments
                on policy. The best ideas will be rewarded.
              Improved Global email procedure - a new E bulletin will be published on a
                specific day to reduce the amount of uncoordinated email.

     B.5 How are we doing?
         Our strategies are only as good as the results they deliver – so it is important that we
         measure how well we are doing. Employee engagement will be measured in a number of
              Staff suggestion scheme entries - quantity and effectiveness
              Percentage of face to face Team Briefings delivered
              Amount of feedback to Team Briefs
              Annual Staff Survey
              Quarterly Partnership Forum feedback
         The information from this feedback will then be used to help us improve our management
         practices, develop our communications; and shape our human resources policies.

20       Connecting with people – NHS Sefton Communications Strategy
C   Our external communications standards

C.1 Key aims
    Everyone in Sefton PCT has a responsibility to contribute to communicating to…
         Keep people informed about Sefton PCT‟s work and services through effective
          communications so that local people and patients are aware of our services and
         Share information to promote the PCT‟s role and help the communications team
          maintain good communications with the media to encourage accurate and balanced
         Build a sense of place through positive promotion of Sefton and it‟s diversity; and
         Engage and listen to our service users and local people through effective
          consultation and engagement.
C.2 Principals
         Everyone in Sefton should be well informed about their PCT and how they can
           access our services and get involved
         Sefton PCT is committed to sharing information and listening to its internal
           stakeholders to ensure an informed and involved workforce.
         The corporate communications team aims to deliver proactive and clear
           communications with all our stakeholders to improve awareness of our services,
           policies and activities and promote opportunities for two-way communications.
C.3 Standards
       a Planned – we will be clear why we are communicating, plan our approach, put
          adequate resources into the process and ensure that our communications activity is
          timely and co-ordinated.
       b Informative - we will ensure that all communications are informative and produced
          in clear, accessible language and delivered as soon as possible;
       c Web enabled – all policies and reports will be available on Sefton PCT‟s Intranet
        d Celebrate success - we encourage people and teams to promote their initiatives,
          services and successes through our communications channels.
        e Open - we provide a range of channels and platforms for two-way communications
          from electronic to paper-based where needed. We also promote face-to-face
          opportunities for employees to hear the senior team speak.
        f Dialogue – we will develop opportunities for feedback and dialogue wherever
          possible in our communications.
        g Branded – consistent use of our NHS visual identity and local brand character,
          design and photographic style
        h Best practice – we will compare our communications with other public sector
          organisations, learn from the best, share our best practice with others through our
          networking groups and enter our communications into national awards.
C.4 Our corporate communications service
    Sefton PCT has a central Corporate Communications team located in the Chief Executives
    directorate. The team promote and protect the PCT‟s reputation through a range of
    activities and support communications activity throughout the organisation, including…
    Corporate communications
    Communications advice – the communications team offer advice on a full range of
    communication issues. This includes:
        Advising people preparing reports that may lead to publicity on controversial items,
        Supporting projects that may lead to external interest (eg, new service plans or
         changes to existing services).
        Attending meetings which need input about communications issues when
          Support the development of communications campaigns based on our capacity and
           corporate priorities.

     Crisis and emergency – we will provide communications support to the PCT‟s Crisis
     Management arrangements during times of disruption caused by the likes of a flu
     pandemic, environmental disaster etc. At times this will require us to work in partnership
     with our partners from Sefton Council and the emergency services.

     Our publications - Sefton PCT‟s publications, like Your Guide, our Annual Report, the
     report of the Director of Health and other statutorily required documents, are designed to
     maximize the positive messages, achievements and activities of the Sefton PCT in a
     customer focussed way. It is distributed annually to homes throughout Sefton.
     We also produce a range of internal publications aimed at keeping you informed in your job,
     such as Sefton United and other staff newsletters and briefings. We regularly invite your
     views and input about these publications and welcome any news and stories for inclusion.

     Websites – we oversee the management of the Sefton PCT website and the staff intranet.
     We will support directorates to develop the content for their sections on both sites about
     their work. This includes training, run by IT Training, on how to update the websites.

     Marketing and promotions
     Health Promotion – the PCT‟s health promotion team develop a range of campaigns using
     different methods from public relations and advertising to the developing discipline of social
     Patient information – the team leads the Patient Leaflet Group, which ensures that all
     forms of patient information follow corporate policies and other standards such as those set
     by the NHS Litigation Authority and the Healthcare Commission. We can provide advice on
     developing patient information leaflets that best communicate the message you need to

     Dealing with the media
     Press releases - the communications team aims to issue at least 50 press releases each
     year. We aim to achieve 100% take up of our press releases by the media, which means
     only producing releases on issues the media are likely to respond to and publish.
     In each case the press release should be supported with arrangements for appropriate
     people to conduct follow-up interviews and photo opportunities. Briefing notes will be
     prepared if appropriate.
     The communications team will produce photography for distribution to the media if

     Media Enquiries - the communications team responds to hundreds of enquiries each year
     and rely on people throughout the organisation to respond to these referred enquiries as
     effectively and as quickly as possible. Each enquiry is logged and the results evaluated
     through our media monitoring.

     Media briefing and training – we understand that people who are well prepared produce
     the best media coverage, so we provide support through briefing and coaching for
     Executive Team and Senior Managers who may be asked to represent the PCT to the
     media. We also understand the right of people in less senior positions not to be involved in
     media facing situations.
     We will also organise media training sessions with external specialists when required to
     refresh people‟s skills and for specific issues affecting the PCTs reputation.

22   Connecting with people – NHS Sefton Communications Strategy
    Rapid response - in cases where inaccurate information or undue criticism of Sefton PCT
    may be made by media channels, the communications team will prepare a response with
    background notes, rebuttal statements and general advice.

C.5 Your communications responsibilities
    As an employee of Sefton PCT you can help our communications work to ensure that
    colleagues in the organisation are aware of your work and local people and stakeholder are
    well informed.
    Tell us first about any media enquiries you have – the communications team are here to
    deal with media enquires, so that you don‟t have to.
    If a member of the press contacts you do not try to deal with the enquiry yourself – refer the
    journalist to the Corporate Communications team on 0151 478 1247 and contact the
    Communications Team immediately to let us know about the enquiry.
    Remember to take some key details from the reporter or journalist first including – what
    they are enquiring about, their deadline, the reporter‟s name and contact details. Pass this
    information on to the communications team, who will deal with the issue.
    Tell us about your communications needs - communication issues should be discussed
    at all team meetings across the PCT. The Communications Team must be informed about
    any issue that could generate attention by the press. This may be about sensitive issues
    likely to have a negative effect on the PCT, such as changes to services, or something that
    will improve patient care and promote the work we do. Tell the Communications Team even
    if you are unsure, we will be happy to advise you.
    Be prepared to share your good practice with your colleagues - we all have a
    responsibility to promote the services and initiatives we provide, aimed at improving health
    and preventing ill health, whenever it is possible. Make sure you tell the Communications
    Team about your good news, stories, initiatives and events, so that we can help promote
    your good practice with your colleagues and members of the public by trying to secure
    media coverage.
    Keep us up to date - we need all the facts and correct information to support us in our
    communications activities – from dealing with media enquiries and drafting press releases,
    to promoting our services and preparing briefings for a wide range of different people -
    including the NHS North West, Sefton Council, patient groups and local politicians.
    We also need you to help us keep our information up to date – whether its updates for the
    PCT telephone contacts list, your directorate‟s information on the website and intranet or
    changes to patient advice - you need to let us know as soon as it happens.

    DRAFT STRATEGY August 2008                                                                23
D   Our Engagement standards

D.1 What is engagement?
    Engaging people inside and outside Sefton PCT is a key commitment and requirement in
    the new NHS to involve people in shaping our future services.
    Sefton PCT has a positive track record of engagement and has designed an Engagement
    Toolkit to…
          Build on best practice
          Co-ordinate and share our engagement activity and
          Ensure we can deliver the challenge of World Class Commissioning and our own
            corporate priorities
    Engagement is a range of activities that informs the way we work. It includes informing,
    listening, analysing, understanding and involving our stakeholders who include employees,
    local people and patients. Engagement is generally thought to have five stages on a scale
    of low to high involvement;
                     low                  involvement                        high

        inform                 consult       understand           involve           devolve

     Publications          Public       Focus groups    Citizen juries    Local decision making

D.2 Why engage?
    Our duty to engage with our stakeholders should…
            help us make better decisions
            help us commission and provide services that people need and want
            tell us what people think of our services
            encourage a productive, two-way dialogue between us and our stakeholders

D.3 Our engagement standards
    Local people and our other stakeholders can expect a high quality of engagement from
    Sefton PCT. We have agreed standards for our engagement work to that aim to produce:
         More effective engagement through learning, sharing and supporting
         A better response to engagement activities
         Reduced potential for engagement fatigue
    So, our standards for engagement standards are…
    a    Planned - we will be clear why we are engaging, plan our approach, put adequate
         resources into the process and ensure that our engagement activity is timely and co-
         ordinated with other communications processes.
    b    Inclusive - engagement is appropriate and accessible by all
    c    Coordinated - our engagement process will be organised through an Engagement
         Working Group that manages a shared database of all engagement, including a
         calendar of engagement activity. Coordinate links with other local public agencies will
         be developed.
    d    Communicated – all engagement will be supported by effective communications that
         reinforces the engagement process.
    e    Learning - manage the outcomes from engagement to ensure the organisation uses
         the knowledge gained effectively, manages its data appropriately and improves its
         engagement processes through evaluation.

    For more information see Sefton PCT‟s Engagement Toolkit and Sefton Equalities
    Partnership Toolkit.

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