Our local health and care services are designed and delivered for the benefit of the people who live and work within the Black Country and West Birmingham. It is vital, therefore, that the views and ideas of our local population are taken into account when new ways of delivering services are being proposed. Our plans and projects will only be successful if they are informed by the needs, wants and desires of the local people we serve. We want to hear the views and ideas about how we tackle the challenges our health and care system faces. As we develop our plans and ideas, there will be different opportunities for local people to get involved and help shape the future of local services. We now not everyone finds it easy to share their views, whilst many people use existing channels supported by our partners, others find it difficult. As part of enhancing local engagement and obtaining views from a representative demographic population, NHS England awarded the Black Country and West Birmingham Sustainability Transformation Partnership £40,000 to set up an online citizens’ panel. The citizens’ panel will be known as ‘Black Country Voices’ and will be live by April 2020.
Members of this panel will represent demographic populations and communities. Black Country Voices will complement existing methods of engagement and provide additional views and feedback from those individuals who aren’t normally engaged with or haven’t taken part in health-based engagement. Black Country Voices will be used as an engagement tool for across the Black Country and West Birmingham health and care partnership, where consultation or engagement is required to influence the outcomes of service redesign or improvements.
The Citizens Panel will be part of a menu of ways local people can ‘Get Involved’ and have their say.
During October 2019, the Membership Engagement Service (MES) who developed the software for the panel, carried out their face to face recruitment campaign for panel members to ensure demographic representation and recruited 1,687 new members for the Black Country Voices citizens’ panel.
Two MES representatives approached members of the public based on demographic profiles to offer them to an opportunity to join the panel. If interested, they were presented with a FAQs leaflet and a paper application to complete which captured their data. MES staff also had with them a letter of authorisation from the lead organisation.
The table below summarises the target for recruitment in each locality based on population data sourced from census data and how many panel members have been recruited to date.
To widen our demographics and representation, an online application form to join Black Country Voices is now available: https://secure.membra.co.uk/BlackCountryVoicesapplicationform/ .
Individuals who join the panel online or through a form filled out at engagement events will be coded differently. This will enable feedback from the demographically sourced members of the panel to be separated when analysing feedback data from a survey.
It is important that the views of panel members are gathered and used as part of the work of the Black Country and West Birmingham health and care partnership. We will aim to conduct surveys at least once a quarter.
We hope to send out our first survey to panel members in April 2020. More information on what we learned from each of the surveys will be posted on our You Said, We Did webpage.
If you would like more information on Black Country Voices please email us at BCWB.firstname.lastname@example.org.