What are we doing?
The Leeds Health and Care Partnership looks at the people who live in Leeds (our population), as defined groups of people who have similar health and care needs. We call these groups, ‘segments’. Each of these population segments has a group of senior staff who are responsible for improving the population segment’s health and wellbeing. These groups are called ‘population boards’.
Over the last year, the Leeds Office of the NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board (ICB) has been working together (coproducing) with people a way of involving people in our boards, this approach is called ‘governance’. We wanted to put something in place that provides assurance to the wider public that the board is listening to people, acting on their experiences, and sharing how we have used feedback to improve our services.
With the support of our partners, we have brought together members of the public and third sector representatives from each of our populations in Leeds. Together we are co-producing a flexible approach to governance on the boards that gives local people confidence that the boards are listening, acting and feeding back to local communities. For some boards this means having a public representative attending meetings, and for others there will be a public involvement group which will provide assurance to the board. Over the last year we have held 12 public workshops and are now supporting 12 representatives and groups to provide assurance to the wider population.
Why are we doing it?
We know that we plan better, safer, and more cost-effective services when we involve local people and third sector services in our decision-making. As well as being the right thing to do, we also have a legal duty to involve all our partners, including the public.
Who are we working with?
To develop our governance structure for involvement we worked closely with partners across the Leeds health and care system, including; Healthwatch Leeds, charities, public volunteers, and NHS and council services. Working in this way has been essential so that we can understand views from a wide range of different services and communities and develop an approach that works for all our populations.
What difference will it make?
While this is a new and developing approach, we are already seeing how governance on the boards has improved the way we involve people and meet our legal duties.
- Our board members are hearing directly from local people and using this information to check and amend their plans and priorities
- Members of the public are checking and influencing our insight reports so that our boards members understand the needs, preferences, and experiences of the people from diverse communities in their population
- Board member engagement has been excellent, with senior leaders from across our partnership attending involvement groups to hear directly from local people.
- Our involvement groups and public representatives are linking into existing community networks ensuring that we are hearing the voice of people from diverse and established community groups.
Over the next few months, we will be evaluating our approach to governance and assurance with senior leaders, third sector services and local people. This will help us refine our approach so that we can be confident that local people really are at the heart of our decision-making.
How will it improve the health of the poorest, the fastest?
As part of the Leeds Health and Care Partnership, the ICB in Leeds is committed to improving the health of the poorest, the fastest. We believe that our approach to involving local people in our governance will help ensure that the needs, preferences, and experiences of people who experience the greatest health inequalities are championed at the board. We are working with our representatives and involvement groups to improve their understanding of diversity and to provide them with the intelligence they need to raise the profile of inequalities at the board.
How to find out more
You can find out more about our governance work in Leeds and read all our insight reports by visiting the populations page of this website here: https://www.healthandcareleeds.org/have-your-say/shape-the-future/populations/