DATA ANALYSIS - Question 3
COLLABORATION BETWEEN LOCAL AUTHORITIES AND LINks
Seventy-eight local authorities (51%) gave a more detailed picture about their involvement with the LINk in the transition to HealthWatch; each reported there was an inclusive dialogue with the LINk and the respondents fell into three clusters –
- Working with the LINk to develop the LHW model and involving local partners in the process;
- Collaboration leading to a transition from LINk to LHW, with the Local Authority using grant in aid.
- LINk working with the local authority until it goes out to tender, when the LINk will withdraw because it intends to bid for the contract as part of the competitive tendering process.
The situation in Worcestershire and Sunderland was fairly typical of the first group:
"We have established a HealthWatch Steering Group which has local LINk representation. The Steering Group has been in place since the latter part of 2011. There is also a HealthWatch Worcestershire Stakeholder Group that meets regularly with the LA/NHS representative. The Stakeholder Group has a wide range of representatives, including the LINk and local residents”.
“Representatives from the LINk and the Host sit on the HW Transition Working Group, that meets monthly to discuss how to support the implementation of HW in Sunderland, and to maintain and oversight of strategic developments. The Working Group will exist until Sunderland HealthWatch is established in April 2013”.
Wakefield Council on the other hand has run a public consultation exercise on the development of LHW but has not worked in partnership with the Wakefield LINk (although LINK members have attended consultation events). There report says:
“All LINk members, and anyone who has signed up to receive newsletters or other documents from LINk, will be informed of the closure of the LINk service and given the option to have their contact details passed to the new provider of HealthWatch. The new provider will then provide information on how to become involved in HealthWatch”.
Wakefield Transformation Team ran a series of drop-in sessions around the district to provide citizens with an opportunity to discuss HealthWatch and to give their views. The public consultation culminated with a Feedback Event on 12 April 2012. At the event delegates were provided with a range of proposals for Healthwatch and given further opportunity to influence the development of HealthWatch:
“The next step for HealthWatch is writing the service specification and putting this out to tender. Organisations who are interested in delivering the Healthwatch service will be asked to submit a tender/bid. The tender process will take several months”.
In Halton, a commissioning timetable for LHW is being finalised and will be presented to the LINK Board during summer 2012. Consultation and engagement activity around the role and development of HW is planned.