‘ENABLING INDEPENDENCE’
                  ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY
                        2007 - 2010

                    BRENDA THOMPSON


                         Date 19 February 2007


1.   The purpose of this report is to seek Executive approval of “Enabling
     Independence” – The Department of Social Care‟s 3 Year Strategy to
     ensure effective engagement with service users and their families.


2.   Improving the involvement of local people in public services is a major
     part of the Government‟s Modernisation Agenda. The White Paper
     “Strong and Prosperous Communities” published in 2006 makes it
     clear that the Government expects Health and Social Care Agencies
     to develop robust mechanisms to give service users and their carers
     greater independence, choice and control over the way services are
     commissioned, designed and delivered. The linked themes of user
     focus and citizen engagement are key drivers for improvement.

3.   The Department of Social Care has a good track record in engaging
     with people who use services and their families, and this 3 Year
     Engagement Strategy is the product of widespread stakeholder

4.   Two Engagement Events held on 1st November 2006 and 25th January
     2007 brought together staff, service users, carers and representative
     community and voluntary sector groups. Priorities for action and how
     local practice could be strengthened and developed.

5.   The outcome of the First Event was the emergence of 4 main themes
     which have been grouped as follows:-

      Improve conversations with people who use services and carers
      Create a “Customer Care” culture within Social Care
      Involve people who use services and carers in monitoring the
       quality of Services Middlesbrough
      Promote service user and carer involvement

6.   As a result of the second event the Engagement Strategy Action Plan
     was developed. Service users and carers have been fully involved
     with its production. The Action Plan goals link with the Department of
     Social Care Service Plan for 2007/08.

7.   The Strategy has been written in Plain English, and the published
     version will include pictures and diagrams to aid understanding.


8.   Internally, the Engagement Strategy will provide a framework to
     monitor departmental activity, which will be incorporated in the
     performance management framework.                 Systems have been
     established to track all activity to enable a co-ordinated approach to all
     engagement activity.

9.   Externally, a Monitoring Group has been established comprising
     service users and carers, and the Department of Social Care
     Engagement staff. This will ensure that service users and carers are
     at the centre of any developments.


10.   Financial – There are no immediate financial implications

11.   Ward Implications – This strategy effects all people who use social
      care services and their carers in all wards within the town

12.   Legal Implications – Under section 7 of the 2006 White Paper „ Our
      Health, Our Care, Our Say there is a clear commitment to „Ensuring
      our reforms put people in control’ and clearly indicates that we need to
      develop ‘services that engage citizens and respond to their concerns’.
      Within the document there is a clear commitment to developing „local
      triggers‟ relating to public satisfaction and service quality. Strong and
      prosperous communities‟ 2006 strengthens this resolve to give local
      people mechanisms to voice their concerns on health and well-being


13.   Not considered necessary for the purpose of this report.


14.   That Executive approve the attached Strategy and draft Action Plan.


15.   There are clear Government directives on the involvement of local
      people in the development of health and social care services. There
      is a commitment to empowering individuals to be partners in their care,
      to providing seamless responsive services and to the development of
      the Local Involvement Networks (LINks).

16.   From 2007, the new Performance Framework will focus on the 7
      outcomes identified in the 2006 White Paper ‟Strong and Prosperous
      Communities‟. „Responsive and Empowered Communities‟ is one
      main area against which we will be measured.


The following background papers were used in the preparation of this

„Our health, our care, our say: a new direction for community services‟ 2006
Draft Social Care Departmental Plan 2006-2007
Strong and prosperous communities‟ 2006

AUTHOR: Christine Walker
        Engagement Team Manager

TEL NO: 01642 729247
Website: http://www.middlesbrough.gov.uk

       ‘Enabling    Independence’

  Middlesbrough Department of Social Care
            Engagement Strategy
                 2007 - 2010


That there is a culture within social care that
puts people who use services and their carers
      at the centre of everything we do

1.   Foreword

2.   Executive Summary

3.   Introduction

4.   What is happening Nationally?

5.   What is happening in Middlesbrough?

6.   Principles

7.   Levels of Engagement

8.   Informing

9.   Consultation and Researching Need

10. Participation and Empowerment

11. Monitoring Activity

12. Action Plan

1.   Foreword

     The "one size fits all" service models of the past do not have
     a future in the world of Social Care. Users and carers of
     Social Care are entitled to have choice over the services
     they receive, influence over those who provide them, and
     higher service standards. People are entitled to have control
     over their lives, consulted and involved in running services,
     informed about the quality of the services in the area, and
     enabled to call local agencies to account if services fail to
     meet their needs.

     This Engagement Strategy sets out how, together, we will
     achieve those aspirations. The fact that the Strategy has
     been shaped and influenced by service users, and carers
     demonstrates our mutual commitment to putting people who
     use Social Care services firmly at the centre of everything we

     I'd like to thank all those who have contributed to this
     Strategy for the time, effort, and unbridled enthusiasm you
     have so freely given. I, personally, have been moved by the
     power of your "stories", and your reflections of your
     experiences as users and carers. Please don't ever
     underestimate the impact your personal experience has on
     shaping services.

     I'm confident that together, we can make a difference.

     Jan Douglas
     Executive Director of Social Care

2.   Executive Summary

     „We want change to be driven, not centrally, but in each
     community by the people who use services and by the
     professionals who provide them‟

     This quote from Tony Blair from the White Paper “Our health,
     our care, our say” gives a clear direction for local councils to
     develop user led services.

     This strategy outlines what the Department of Social Care in
     Middlesbrough intend to do to engage with people at all
     levels. We will look at what is happening across the country,
     locally & elsewhere within the council. Other documents that
     include issues around consultation will be described to give a
     broader picture of developments in the town.

     Under the headings Informing, Consultation and
     Researching Need and Participation and Empowerment, we
     describe what we are doing now to engage with people at
     each level, and what our goals are for the future.

     The way the government find out how well we are doing
     compared to other councils and how we intend to monitor
     this work alongside people who use services and their
     carers, is described in section 11.

3.   Introduction

     Middlesbrough Social Care Department seeks to engage
     with people who use and access its services, and those who
     care for them, as fully as possible in the decision-making
     processes that affect their lives. However, we need to build
     on these processes to make sure we are planning and
     developing needs based services.

     The aim is to make sure that people who use services are
     engaged in all levels of social care activity, from the provision
     of information through to empowerment and user choice by
     providing a plan for action.

     Real user and carer engagement is not about ticking boxes.
     It is central to developing the organisation and forging
     positive relationships, building strong partnerships and
     communicating effectively with people who use services,
     their carers and representative organisations.

     Consultation and participation are part of a process that
     enables people with an `interest in the provision of services
     to have some influence and control in deciding what services
     are provided and how those services are delivered. This is a
     sharing process that engages people in exercising or sharing
     control over issues such as strategic planning of future
     services as well as their development and delivery.

     „Consultation‟, „participation‟ and „empowerment,‟ are all
     terms that are regularly used, often interchangeably, to
     describe engagement activities. However, each term refers
     to different forms of engagement, which are dependent on
     the overall aim of the exercise.

     We can only develop services within the legislative
     framework and the powers and duties of a social care
     department as set down by central government.

4.     What is happening Nationally?

       The 1998 Government White Paper „Modernising Social
       Services‟ outlines what the government intends to do to
       develop services. The priorities for improvement in adult
       services are:

        promoting independence;
        creating fairer more consistent services for all; and
        providing convenient, user-centred services by making
         sure services fit individual needs.

       Recently the government consulted with the British public on
       priorities for the improvement of health and social care
       services. These priorities included better health and well-
       being, convenient access to high quality services, support for
       those with longer-term needs, care in the most appropriate
       settings and support for carers.

     As a result of this consultation, in January 2006 the White
     Paper „Our health, our care, our say: a new direction for
     community services‟ was published. This document shows how
     the government will reform health and social care services
     through actions set against four main goals:

      Better prevention services with earlier intervention.
      To give people more choice and a louder voice.
      To tackle inequalities and improve access to community
      To provide more support to people with long-term needs.

     A full copy of both documents can be found at www.dh.gov.uk.

     Underpinning all of the proposed reforms is the need to give
     people greater choice and control over the services they use by
     enabling them to have a voice to shape service improvement.
     This includes the provision of information, looking at improved
     ways to seek the views and wishes of people who use services
     and their carers, involving people in decision making and acting
     on what people say they need.

The government will regularly check that we are involving the
public to make sure the services we are providing are what
people need, but how we do it is up to us.

As part of this process and as described in the White Paper
„Strong and prosperous communities‟ 2006, the Department of
Health are developing new ways to involve people in
improvements and changes to health and social care services.

There are four principles that will underpin this work;
independence  and     engagement,   accountability and

A new framework for user and public involvement is proposed
which has five main elements:

 the establishment of local involvement networks (LINks)
  which will replace patient forums
 the development of the role of Overview and Scrutiny
  Committees and commissioning
 an explicit duty to involve and consult where commissioners
  of services will be required to have arrangements in place to
  engage with people who use services and the public
 a stronger national voice through a national network
 a stronger voice in regulation and the development of
  assessment criteria to measure performance against national

5. What is happening in Middlesbrough?

    The Middlesbrough Community Strategy

    This shows what the council‟s key priorities are and the
    things we need to do to move Middlesbrough towards the
    corporate vision of a vibrant and thriving community. It has a
    range of actions intended to make improvements within six
    key theme areas – health, the environment, transport, the
    economy, children & learning and crime.

    One of these themes is „Promoting healthier communities
    and effective social care for adults‟ and the main priority is to
    „help promote health, well-being, independence, inclusion
    and choice‟. Actions set against this priority can only be met
    by involving people in the development of services.

    Community     Engagement         Strategy,     Framework       &
    Consultation Toolkit

    The Middlesbrough Partnership is made up of
    representatives   and    communities   from   across
    Middlesbrough who share a vision for the town that is
    set out in the Community Engagement Strategy.

    The Community Strategy has a section called „Healthier
    Communities for all and effective social care for adults‟ which
    sets out priorities and action for the coming year. The
    partnership have also produced a Community Engagement
    Framework in Middlesbrough which is used by community,
    voluntary, public and private sector organisation who operate
    within the Middlesbrough Partnership, to guide them in
    community consultation and citizen involvement. Staff within
    social care work in line with the framework.

    The purpose of the Community Engagement Framework and
    Consultation Toolkit is to make sure that citizens, visitors and
    other key stakeholders in Middlesbrough have a voice to
    influence the development of policies and strategies that will
    affect their lives and to inform the way in which services are
    planned and delivered. As part of this strategy we will

develop this toolkit further taking into account the specific
needs of our service users and their carers.
Both the Community Strategy and the Engagement
Framework can be accessed on the council website
www.middlesbrough.gov.uk and you can get a paper copy of
the strategy by contacting Middlesbrough Partnership Team,
c/o Regeneration, 2nd Floor, Civic Centre, Middlesbrough
TS1 2XH.

Middlesbrough Council’s Customer Care Strategy and
Minimum Standard for Customer Care

The Customer Contact Strategy defines the Councils aims
and objectives for customer contact and explains how we will
deal with customer contact in all its forms. The overall
objectives are to place the public of Middlesbrough at the
heart of services by making sure we are customer focussed,
services are quick and easy to access, cost effective and

The Minimum Standard for Customer Care sets out a
minimum standard that the general public can expect when
contacting the council covering all interactions and meetings
with customers.

The Department of Social Care is continually working
towards providing excellent customer care in an effective and
mutually supportive way. We aim to exceed this minimum
standard by adopting a customer care charter developed
alongside people who use our services and their carers and
providing further training to our staff in line with the Customer
Contact Strategy

Middlesbrough Council Diversity Policy

The Diversity Policy sets out the council‟s commitment to
combating all forms of discrimination, harassment and
bullying and promoting equal opportunities in Middlesbrough.
As a response to the Race Relations (Amendment) Act 2000,
the council produced the Race Equality Scheme that outlines
how we will tackle discrimination. We have an action plan
that outlines what we will do in response to these
documents. You can get a copy of the Diversity Policy and

the scheme from the Diversity Officer based in Corporate
Services, 2nd floor, Civic Centre, Middlesbrough, TS1 2XH

Middlesbrough Compact

Middlesbrough Council is committed to working alongside
the independent and voluntary sector to make sure we are
providing the services people need. The compact shows
what the council do to make sure this commitment is fulfilled.
As a department we work very closely alongside these
partners who often represent the views of people who use
our services and their carers. To ensure engagement with
independent, voluntary and community sector groups is
robust, we have set up development groups to take this work

Tees, Esk and Wear Valley NHS Trust User and Carer
Involvement Strategy

This strategy shows how the Trust, which deals with
mental health and learning disability services, intend to
involve people in service development.       Contact the
Trust at Flatts Lane, Normanby, Middlesbrough TS6 0SZ
for copies or telephone 288288.

   Middlesbrough Primary Care Trust Public and Patient
                 Involvement Strategy

The Primary Care Trust is responsible for developing
community based health services and delivering a
programme of health improvement for the public of
Middlesbrough. They are committed to consulting and
involving with people and set out their commitments in the
strategy. You can get a copy from Middlesbrough Primary
Care Trust, Riverside House 18 High Force Road, Riverside
Park Middlesbrough, TS2 1RH.

Middlesbrough Department of Social Care endorse these
documents and work in partnership with the Trust and the
Primary Care Trust in achieving their aims.

6.   Principles

      To engage with people who use services and their carers
       in making decisions about their care.

      To develop inclusive, effective ways to listen to all people
       who use our services, irrespective of their disability, age,
       ethnic origin etc.

      To ensure engagement is not seen as a one off activity
       but as an ongoing process that is a key part of service
       planning, policy development and service provision.

      To seek user and carer feedback in relation to the quality
       of services they receive and target those that are
       performing poorly.

      To develop models of engagement that are based on
       human rights, equality, inclusion and the social model of
       disability to counter oppressive and discriminatory

      Underpinning this is the basic principle that people who
       use services and their carers will be given more control
       of and responsibility for their lives with the support of a
       skilled social care workforce.

7.   Levels of Engagement

     People who use adult social care services and their carers
     are engaged in the work of the department in various ways.
     Some people want to receive information on services in the
     form of leaflets or newsletters. Others want to be more
     engaged in the planning and evaluation of services.
     Everyone‟s contribution is valid and valued and everyone
     has a right to express their wants and needs.

     Informing       providing public information about or
                     promoting service or policy i.e. leaflets and
                     posters, newsletters, exhibits, various
                     technologies etc

     Researching     seeking the views of people who use
                     services and carers based on their
                     experiences or asking their opinion on
                     particular issues using surveys and
                     questionnaires,   individual assessment
                     through the care management process &
                     analysis of complaints

     Consulting      discussing with people their aspirations and
                     needs and discussing priorities before
                     making decisions i.e. consultation forums,
                     focus groups, stakeholder events
     Participation   actively involving stakeholders in the
                     development of policy and proposals for
                     service development, solving problems in
                     partnership with people who use services
                     and carers i.e. planning and working
                     groups, individual care planning

      Delegated      allowing people to make some decisions for
      Powers         themselves i.e. direct payment, people led
                     projects such as Middlesbrough 1st

  Empowerment supporting individuals and community
              groups to provide services on behalf of
              people who use services and carers and
              delegating decision making powers to user
              and carer groups i.e. self management of
              services, delegating responsibility for
              service to others

  How will we help people to take control of their lives?

From their work across the country with different councils, the
Audit Commission identified five „critical success factors‟ to
successfully engage with people who use services and citizens
in general:

 commitment to user focus and citizen engagement

 understanding your communities

 clarity of purpose

 communicating in appropriate ways and

 delivering change and improved outcomes for people.

In an attempt to be successful we have tried to address these
five factors in the following sections:

 Informing

 Consulting and researching needs

 Participation and Empowerment

8.     Informing

       „During 2006, the Department of Health will review the
       provision of health and social care information to ensure
       that people who use those services have the
       information they need, when they need it, and in a wide
       variety of formats. We will do this in partnership with
       people who use health and social care and their
       representative organisations, and we will also consider
       methods of helping people navigate round the many
       different services‟. Section 8.8 ‘Our Health, our care,
       our say’.

       A key feature of this framework is to ensure that people who
       use services and the wider public are informed, engaged and
       consulted with, using creative communication methods and
       channels appropriate to individual needs. Without clear
       information people cannot make decisions about how best
       their needs can be met and what services are available to

       Examples of how we provide information now

      When someone who will potentially need services has an
       assessment they are given a pack containing general
       information on social care services. A pack is also given to
       their carer where appropriate.

      We produce information leaflets and posters outlining
       services and how to access those services.

      A number of joint and single agency plans are produced
       which outline activity for the coming year and explain the
       context in which we work.

      Information is made available to the public regarding new

   Any events or opportunities open to people who use
    services, carers and the public are advertised through the
    local press and established networks.
   Our Complaints, Compliments and Comments system keeps
    us abreast of any issues of individual concern
   The council web site is used to pass on information on
    available services

   Many information networks exist both within the council,
    across the north east area and nationally where good
    practice can be shared

What are our goals for Information?

That all public information provided by the department is accurate
and timely and in line with legislative requirements.

That we improve the quality of information provided to users and
carers in the format they need.

That people who use services and their carers are involved in the
planning, development and production of public information.

That the best routes to enable service users and carers to make
informed choices are identified.

9.     Consultation and Researching Needs

       What is Consultation?
       Consultation is where people are given a better say in how
       service are run and developed. It involves an ongoing
       exchange of views both in large-scale events and one to one

       The Audit Commission defines consultation as “…a process
       of dialogue that leads to a decision”.

       Consultation plays a vital role as part of a council's wider
       corporate and communication strategies as well as
       departmental activity. Used well, it can make a big
       contribution by:

        testing options for service changes;
        targeting services at what people want and need;
        improving the delivery of services;
        improving the take-up of services;
        measuring satisfaction;
        testing views    on   priorities,   choices   and   resource
        supporting the development and delivery of the
         community strategy and local strategic partnership and
        supporting devolved systems of democratic accountability.

     Fundamental to the process is a commitment to making
     information about plans and processes freely available. This
     will enable people to make informed choices about how, when
     and whether they wish to participate.

  Examples of how we consult now

  Stakeholder Events

  These are large scale events organised to consult face to face
  with large groups of people who use services, their carers and
  partner organisations on particular issues, for example, the
  development of new services, changes in departmental policies,


  Surveys can be questionnaires we asks individuals to complete
  themselves to find out:

   levels of satisfaction with a particular part of the service;

   what people think about proposed changes to services;

   what the public in general think about the Council and

   particular issues set nationally by the government i.e. the
    department carries out a Personal Social Services (PSS)
    Survey annually alongside all other Social Care Departments
    in the country. The government then uses the results of the
    PSS Survey to compare activity and performance of all

Surveys can also take the form of a telephone conversation or face
to face interviews, when set questions are asked of a sample
group of people.

Face-to-face discussions

All people who may need services are offered an assessment of
need when they first come into contact with us; from this a care
plan is agreed which is reviewed regularly. This is core business of
any social care department and forms the first step in the
consultation process.

Seminars and Workshops

These groups are brought together on a time-limited basis to
discuss a particular issue. For instance, within mental health
we asked people what they thought of crisis support and how
the service could be improved.

Consultation Forums

These forums are groups of people who use services and/or
carers who meet on a regular basis to discuss issues
relevant to a particular part of the work of the department.

Support Groups

Many people who use services and/or their carers meet
regularly to discuss concerns and share experiences. We
might consult with these groups on occasion, but they tend to
be more therapeutic environments whose focus is on
individual worries and problems.

Drop In

These tend to be regular, less formal, occasions where
individuals can discuss their own personal issues. Many day
services and residential homes have an „open door‟ policy
where people who use services and their carers are
welcome at any time. Middlesbrough Carers Centre is open
to all carers to offer support at their premises when people
need it.

There is a recognition that, whilst we evidently regularly
engage with people, there is much room for improvement
and development.


All social care departments have a statutory duty to provide a
process to allow people who use services to complain. We
produce an annual report that outlines the number of
complaints received the areas of concern and most
importantly, the lessons learnt by the department.

     Research Governance Framework

     This is a procedure to enable our staff to have any research
     they intend to carry out approved. It is a national initiative
     that identifies good research practice and is key to ensuring
     that health and social care research is carried out to the
     highest scientific and ethical standards. More information
     can be found on the Department of Health website

  What are our goals for consultation?

That we strengthen the commitment across the department and
partner agencies to consult with people and ensure there is a co-
ordinated approach.

That we respect and listen to users and carers and work together
to deliver services to the highest quality for the welfare of
vulnerable adults.

That we work with other agencies and organisations to continually
review, evaluate and modernise services.

     That we identify and overcome barriers to participation in
     consultation events and design future events to address
     identified barriers.

10. Participation and Empowerment

    Participation is the key process that underpins all
    engagement activity and empowerment is the intended
    outcome. However, we recognise that in seeking to engage
    people who use services and carers we must be prepared to
    acknowledge the imbalance of power that exists.

    This imbalance can be overcome, to a certain extent, by
    providing people with the relevant information in appropriate
    formats. Research suggests this can help to overcome the
    apparent apathy often shown by the public to be engaged in
    decision-making processes.

    A genuine commitment to engagement includes a genuine
    commitment to finding ways to counteract the effects of that
    imbalance in power. We need to be sure that individuals and
    groups are given the opportunity to influence decisions as
    equal and valued partners.

    Examples of what we do now?

    Planning Groups

    These regular meetings, between all agencies responsible
    for developing and monitoring social care services. They
    include representatives of people who use particular services
    and carers who attend to give their views and ensure people
    have a voice.

    These are important meetings where we look at the needs of
    local people and priorities for service developments. For
    instance, at the present, the vice chair of the Learning
    Disabilities Partnership Board is a person who uses the
    service and, as far as possible, represents the views of
    people with learning disabilities.       There are similar
    representatives on the following groups:

 Mental Health Local Implementation Team (LIT) and sub
 Older Persons Mental Health LIT
 Older Persons Mental Health Strategy group
 Physical Disability Partnership Board
 Health & Social Care Partnership


People who use services and their carers are offered training as
needs are identified. They are also involved in the training of
department staff where appropriate. For instance, a group of
eight people have the skills, after specialist training, to be
involved in the recruitment and selection of departmental staff.
Training is also offered in partnership with other organisations.

The ongoing evaluation of services through consultation forums
and monitoring meetings involves people who use services and
their carers. For example, within learning disabilities services,
people involved with the service have directly influenced the
development of day services.

The Care Planning process requires the co-operation and
engagement of people who use services to reach an agreement
by all parties on the care that will be provided to the individual

Middlesbrough Council Citizen Participation and Reward

The purpose of this policy is to provide a clear and consistent
Council wide policy covering recognition, incentives, and
reimbursement of expenses for people who use services,
carers, volunteers and other people who participate in
consultation or involvement activities. Our staff will provide
information on the policy to enable people to reclaim out of
pocket expenses or receive payment for their involvement if
they feel it would be appropriate.

  What are our goals for Participation and Empowerment?

That we ensure plans are in place for us to regular and continuous
engagement of people who use services and their carers at all

That we seek user and carer feedback in relation to the quality of
services they receive & target those performing poorly.

That we develop training opportunities for people who use services
and carers and involve them in the training and recruitment of staff.

We will develop engagement mechanisms provided both in
partnership with other agencies and those that are independent of
statutory sector organisations.

11. Monitoring Activity

    Best Value forms an important part of the government's
    plans for modernising local government as described in the
    White Paper „Modern Local Government - In touch with the
    People‟. This document sets out a vision of councils based
    upon comprehensive and meaningful consultation with the
    public they provide services for, building on local
    communities, working in partnership with partner agencies
    and delivering efficient, quality services. These changes
    form part of governmental plans for local government as part
    of wider changes to public sector service as described in the
    White Paper Modernising Government.

    Performance Assessment Frameworks

    The experience of people who use services, carers and
    patients is one of a number of performance indicators to be
    monitored within the Performance Assessment Frameworks
    (PAF) for both health and social services. In general, the
    framework gathers information on a number of indicators to
    find out how well local councils are serving the public.
    Information on the progress made against each of the
    indicators is collected nationally to give a picture of how local
    authorities compare across the country.

    Our performance in the PAF Indicators, together with the
    outcome of Inspections and other monitoring by the
    Commission for Social Care Inspection, determines our “Star
    Rating”. This is a process whereby all Councils with Social
    Service responsibilities are judged as being nil stars, one
    star, two stars or three stars, with three stars being the best.

    How we do as a Department feeds into a wider process
    know as Comprehensive Performance Assessment, which
    affects the council as a whole.

Under “CPA 2005 – the harder test” councils are awarded
between 0 and 4 stars, with 4 being the best. Middlesbrough
Council has been awarded 4 stars, but recognise that there
are always areas where things could be done better and one
of these is finding ways to consult with people who use
services. To find out more about the new CPA, and
consultation process visit the Audit Commission website at

The Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI) check
that social care departments provide quality services by
inspecting what we do, looking at performance returns and
talking to managers.

They have done this by looking at how well we are doing
against 6 standards. However, from 2007, the new
Performance Framework is to focus on the 7 outcomes in the
2006 White Paper ‟Strong and Prosperous Communities‟,
together with commissioning, the use of resources and
leadership, to give 9 main areas against which we will be
 Responsive services and empowered communities
 Effective, accountable and responsive local government
 Strong cities, strategic regions
 Local government as a strategic leader and place-shaper
 A new performance framework
 Efficiency – transforming local services
 Community cohesion
 Commissioning and the use of resources
 Leadership


     It can take a long time to see the impact of people‟s
     involvement on individual lives, departmental policy or
     council strategy. We need to include people who use our
     services and their carers in measuring the outcomes and
     setting targets for future developments. External things,
     such as changes in governmental policy or other
     organisational reasons, can influence how services are
     developed which may not be what local people have said
     they want and need. However, only by working together and
     understanding these issues and the limits they can place on
     the department, can we make sure we set realistic targets for
     the future.

     In addition to formal monitoring systems as identified above,
     the department will engage with people who use services
     and their carers more directly by asking them to help us
     monitor and set targets against the goals in this strategy.

  What are our goals locally to monitor the outcomes of this

 That we engage with users & carers in developing & monitoring
  both nationally and locally set service standards and actions.

 That we ensure engagement forms part of performance
  planning and that we report regularly on progress.

Action Plan

On 1st November 2006 we held a consultation event that
brought together people who use services, carers and
organisations representing service user groups. People
were asked not only to comment on the draft strategy but
also to look at how they want us to engage with them and
their experiences of engagement activities.

At a feedback event on 25th January 2007 we agreed 4 main
priorities that formed an action plan for the coming year. We
will repeat this exercise annually to make sure we are setting
priorities alongside people who use social care services.
These people will also be involved in monitoring the actions
to make sure we uphold our commitments.

                                     ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY ACTION PLAN 2007
        PRIORITY                       OBJECTIVE                      WHAT DO WE NEED TO                 HOW WILL WE DO IT
                                 What we want to achieve?                    DO?
Improve communications with 1. Information that is meaningful,        Review how information is       Develop the departmental
people who use services and    timely and easy to understand          presented     and   shared      Information Group to include su/c
carers                                                                alongside service user and      representatives
                                                                      carers (su/c)
                                                                                                      Carry out an audit to find out what
                                                                                                      u/c think of information and where
                                                                                                      there are gaps

                                                                                                      Produce information in other
                                                                                                      formats i.e. on tapes, credit card
                              2. Information in places where people   Find out where u/c would like   sized cards
                                 actually go                          information to be available
                                                                                                      Audit where we currently put
                                                                                                      information & ask people where
                                                                                                      they found it in the past

                                                                                                      Audit and develop alternative
                                                                                                      resources i.e. community centre,
                                                                                                      bingo halls, bus stops, tea dances
                                                                      Make more use of the            etc.
                              3. One central point for information    Contact Centre
                                                                                                      Train Contact Centre staff to
                                                                                                      understand the need of disabled
                                                                                                      Provide information in the Contact
                                                                                                      Centre and promote its use through
                                                                                                      a publicity campaign

      PRIORITY                       OBJECTIVE                        WHAT DO WE NEED                       HOW WILL WE DO IT
                               What we want to achieve?               TO DO?
Create a „customer care‟     1. Su/c involvement in social care       Train su/c in recruitment and    Invite u/c to be involved and provide
culture within social care      staff appointments                    selection policies and           training and support

                                                                      Support su/c who want to be      Develop „good practice‟ guidelines
                                                                      involved less formally           for staff and a departmental policy

                                                                                                       Form a su/c/staff working group to
                             2. Council staff that understand the     Develop a „Customer Care‟        develop the charter
                                needs of disabled people              Charter for council staff when
                                                                      working with disabled people

                                                                                                       Train su/c to provide awareness
                             3. Council staff that understand “what   Make sure staff understand       raising sessions for staff – inc.
                                its like for us”                      what su/c are saying they        presentation skills & confidence
                                                                      really need                      building

                                                                                                       Review the content of the website
                             4. Alternative ways to feed in views     Have a user friendly,            alongside u/c to make sure it is
                                                                      interactive council website      accessible to disabled people

                                                                                                       Develop an electronic scheme
                                                                                                       using the website
                                                                      Develop a suggestions

          PRIORITY                        OBJECTIVE                          WHAT DO WE NEED                         HOW WILL WE DO IT
                                    What we want to achieve?                 TO DO?
Involve people who use           1. Su/c interviewing individuals on         Develop regular satisfaction       Train su/c in interview techniques
services and carers in              satisfaction with services               activities                         and review the way we gather views
monitoring the quality of care                                                                                  at present

                                 2. Monitoring activities that include all   Makes sure all groups views        Further develop the su/c network of
                                    disabled groups                          are represented                    forums and groups

                                                                                                                Develop alternative ways to gather
                                                                                                                peoples views

                                 3. Real departmental changes as a           Always feedback to                 Host an annual event to tell people
                                    result of monitoring activities - not    individuals the results of their   what has happened in social care
                                    just “lip service”                       involvement                        as a result of monitoring activities

                                                                                                                Make sure individuals receive
                                                                             Provide evidence of what           feedback immediately after all
                                                                             has changed                        activities

                                                                                                                Develop a su/c/staff monitoring
                                 4. Effective monitoring of the              Have regular monitoring            group to check on progress and
                                    Engagement Strategy Action Plan          meetings                           feedback to su/c groups

                                 5. Produce minimum standards for
                                    involvement of user/carers in

       PRIORITY                     OBJECTIVE                       WHAT DO WE NEED                   HOW WILL WE DO IT
                              What we want to achieve?              TO DO?
Promote service user and   1. The involvement of hard to reach      Host events that are fun,      Develop „good practice‟ guides on
   carer involvement          groups, not just same people over     relevant and interesting       organising events for staff alongside
                              and over again                                                       su/c
                                                                    Go to where people are!

                                                                    Recognise people who are
                                                                                                   Introduce a „Champions‟ award
                                                                    involved and staff who
                                                                                                   scheme within the department
                                                                    proactively involve su/c
                                                                                                   Host an annual ceremony in
                                                                                                   recognition of people‟s contributions

                                                                                                   Carry out an audit to find out the
                           2. Staff that are aware of involvement   Tell staff so they can tell
                                                                                                   best ways to communicate with staff
                              opportunities                         other people
                                                                                                   & develop new ways of informing

                                                                                                   Review the current volunteer policy
                           3. Incentives for people to become       A volunteer programme to
                                                                                                   alongside su/c and develop
                              involved                              help people into work
                                                                                                   volunteering opportunities

                                                                                                   Implement a payment and
                                                                    Make sure people are not out
                                                                                                   reimbursement policy
                                                                    of pocket


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