Community involvement is the process of engaging in dialogue and collaboration with community members.
Communities can be of interest or geography – as big or as small as you can imagine.
Customer Panels, Town Hall Meetings, Surveys, Forums – whatever the method, engaging your community before considering changes will make them feel more involved and receptive to change and transition.
Is a service you provide under-utilised and you don’t know exactly why?
One town’s NHS Dental Service reported many missed appointments. The significant test on resources prompted a community consultation.
Ali Draper, of Involving Communities Ltd, conducted a consultation with the town’s community to discover the main reasons why patients missed their appointments, and to discover what changes could be incorporated to prevent such extensive financial losses in the future.
The consultation served to inform and educate the community; additionally, we were able to train local residents – we employed – in consultation and reporting methods.
After seeking the appropriate permissions, we conducted *4 question interviews at school and nursery gates, supermarkets, hospitals, dental surgeries, at the mobile dental venues, groups for mums and toddlers and youth clubs. Those who wanted to expand their answers were invited to do so.
One year later, new reminder methods had been introduced and the savings on lost dentist time, justified the cost of the consultation.
*Asking four simple, appropriate questions is quick and non-intrusive. Participants are more likely to stop and respond if you can inform them that the interview will take less than five minutes.
Do you wish to review a service you provide
to ensure it still serves the community?
A community based NHS Aids & Adaptations service had an excellent reputation and impressive customer feedback; in order to maintain the standard – and confirm the rating was accurate – the manager of the service commissioned a customer survey.
As we frequently do, we engaged the community to help with our work.
We recruited and trained a team of mystery customers and wrote to previous patients and their families to arrange face-to-face or telephone interviews.
We also sent out surveys.
The results were illuminating, certain aspects of the service were indeed “excellent” yet – as the manager had indicated – there were one or two areas which the customers thought could be improved.
A bonus outcome was that some of the suggestions for improvement resulted in lower outgoings, which more than paid for the consultation.