COMMUNICATION AND ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY

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1 COMMUNICATION AND ENGAGEMENT STRATEGY NWAS Communication and Engagement Strategy Page: 1 Of 16

2 Recommended by Executive Management Team Communities Committee Approved by Board of Directors Approval date May 2013 Version number V0.3 DRAFT Review date May 2014 (delivery plan) completed Year two delivery plan agreed by Workforce and Communities Committee May Responsible Director/Senior Manager For Use By Assistant Director Corporate Communications All Trust employees This policy is available in alternative formats on request. Please contact the Assistant Director, Corporate Communications on NWAS Communication and Engagement Strategy Page: 2 Of 16

3 1. INTRODUCTION This document sets out the strategic direction for the marketing communications, engagement and involvement activities of North West Ambulance Service NHS Trust (NWAS) for the period NWAS is the biggest ambulance service in the country and as a key service provider has a number of stakeholders with whom it needs to have effective relationships in order to deliver the Trust s vision and strategic aims. This strategy will assist the Trust in embedding its vision of delivering the Right Care, at the Right Time and in the Right Place throughout the values of the entire organisation as well as ensuring it is understood outside the organisation by all its stakeholders. Effective two-way communication with the public and patients, staff and partners will improve the services NWAS provides, strengthen our reputation and achieve mutual understanding of our goals and the needs of our patients and staff. NWAS embraces a commitment to listening to and involving communities, their representatives and others in the way we plan and provide our services. 2. SCOPE The strategy covers the Trust s strategic approach to communication and engagement with all key stakeholders in particular patients and the public, staff, partners, members, volunteers, political influencers and statutory organisations. It is supported by the Communication and Engagement Team who provide the full marketing communications mix, press office and staff engagement support and the Patient Experience Team who specialise in supporting the organisation in capturing the views of patients and the public and involving them in how services are delivered. It underpins the delivery of the following: Integrated Business Plan and Annual Plans Quality Strategy Communities Strategy 3. BACKGROUND AND CONTEXT We believe that we have significantly improved the way that we communicate with our communities over the last few years, in spite of the high number of stakeholders and the size and spread of the area that we serve. Effective engagement can be a challenge and this strategy explores innovative and efficient ways to engage and listen with as wide a group of stakeholders as possible. NWAS Communication and Engagement Strategy Page: 3 Of 16

4 The changing landscape of the NHS means that communication and engagement is now even more critical to ensure that all stakeholders are aware of, and understand how the Trust provides services. The Francis report (February 2013) clearly outlines the absolutely essential need for organisations to put patients at the heart of its services and listen to the views of patients and staff in order to deliver the very best standards of care. The NHS Constitution establishes the principles and values of the NHS. It includes staff pledges, which state what the NHS expects from its staff and what staff can expect from the NHS. We view this as part of our commitment to being a good employer, making our staff feeling valued. NWAS will ensure that all engagement activities comply with the underlying principles of the Constitution. The Trust has a duty under the Health and Social Care Act 2006 to involve and consult with patients and the public in the way it develops and designs services. This strategy describes our approach to involvement and consultation. 4. WHERE ARE WE NOW? 4.1 ACHIEVEMENTS The Trust has developed a robust communication and engagement function since its inception in 2006 and has demonstrated year on year delivery of the objectives set for community and stakeholder engagement. The Trust has delivered a number of successful marketing communication and engagement initiatives over the last twelve months including the development of a new website and intranet, launched a patient experience toolkit, developed a digital marketing campaign, commencing a behavioural insight research project to better understand high volume callers and participated in a Channel 4 documentary 999 What s Your Emergency? which attracted high viewing figures. The Trust has had great success during 2012/13 with award wins for its engagement work. It was shortlisted for an award, by the Chartered Institute of Public Relations for its engaging social media campaign, the 999 tweetathon which saw a 300% increase in twitter followers; a direct way of engaging with the public and staff alike. In February 2013 the Patient Experience Board Game won the Outstanding Achievement in Innovation at the Patient Experience Network national awards. Lastly, the Trust s staff engagement arrangements contributed to the Trust becoming the first ambulance service in the county to be awarded the Investors in People Gold award, with the outputs from an internal communications strategy leading to a number of improvements in internal communication channels as well as the full launch of a staff suggestion scheme. The Trust has made positive progress with its membership strategy and met its public membership trajectory on time and in readiness to elect the Trust s Council of Governors. The Trust is now NWAS Communication and Engagement Strategy Page: 4 Of 16

5 preparing to be a Foundation Trust during 2013 and this strategy aims to reflect the requirements of communication and engagement within a Foundation Trust environment. The Trust recently produced a Communities Strategy to demonstrate its commitment to engaging and listening to the voice of communities and how we contribute to the sustainability and public health agendas. Strong links with many community groups, statutory bodies such as Local Involvement Networks (LINks) and Overview and Scrutiny Committees (OSCs), commissioner and health and social care partners have been forged and more recently the Trust has opened dialogue with the Health and Wellbeing Boards in the region. The Trust regular undertakes stakeholder mapping at Board and operational levels to ensure we continue to have mutual two way relationships with all key stakeholders. The use of CQUIN monies (the payment reward for continuous quality improvement and innovation) in the last two years has enabled the Trust to develop an innovative patient experience programme with the challenge now to embed this work throughout the organisation. The Communications Team has shown effective handling strategies and media relations during times of crisis and major incidents, demonstrating experience and resilience in terms of public warning and informing as well as managing public confidence in the Trust brand. These achievements have been as a result of a culmination of work delivered by the Trust s communication and engagement strategy and demonstrate the commitment to engagement and innovation. 4.2 CHALLENGES In terms of the challenges that are faced, the need for strengthened communications in a changing environment will be important (the changes to the NHS and social care infrastructure began from 1 April 2013 with the new commissioning arrangements) and ensuring that this is done in the most cost effective and appropriate way. By the nature of the Trust s business, it enjoys a high media profile and maintaining public confidence is a high priority. As already referenced the level of interest in NHS performance and standards of care will be even higher following the publication of Francis 2 maintaining public confidence and ensuring transparency will need to be at the root of all communication and engagement activity. The large footprint covered by NWAS will always present a challenge for effective stakeholder engagement and public involvement and although the Trust has risen to the challenge very well, developing a district level engagement framework, increased levels of engagement and understanding are required across a number of external stakeholder groups. In terms of staff engagement and internal communications, good progress has been made to increase the level of staff engagement but more is needed to have a constant barometer of staff NWAS Communication and Engagement Strategy Page: 5 Of 16

6 morale and views. Exploring the use of technology to support a mobile workforce will require investment and effective management but will be an enabler for improving staff communications. The capacity and capability of the communication and patient experience team will require assessment to ensure we continue to provide effective support to the communication and engagement strategy whilst acknowledging the need to do things differently in order to work more efficiently. 5. AIMS The Trust has a clear vision to deliver the Right Care, at the Right Time and in the Right Place. The vision is underpinned by the following strategic aims Quality of Care Communities Infrastructure Best Value Staff Effective, Safe, Clean and Caring In partnership with our communities Delivering today, developing for the future Efficient, innovative and productive A fully engaged workforce working together for patients and Communities Underpinning the aims there are a number of corporate objectives. The communication and engagement strategy will support delivery of the objectives. The Trust provides the following functions: Paramedic Emergency Service (PES) Patient Transport Service (PTS) Urgent Care Emergency Preparedness and Resilience They are supported by a number of corporate service teams including Communication and Patient Experience, HR, IM&T, Finance and Clinical and Corporate Governance. 5.1 COMMUNICATION AND ENGAGEMENT AIMS The strategy has three main aims: 1. To support the delivery of the Trust s strategic aims, the annual business plan and new developments 2. To inform the Trust s future strategic direction with the views and expectations of its stakeholders 3. To promote the Trust brand and strengthen its reputation NWAS Communication and Engagement Strategy Page: 6 Of 16

7 This will be achieved by: Forging strong and effective relationships with key stakeholders Providing communications support and advice to the service lines Involving the communities that we serve in shaping the services NWAS provides Engaging with staff to foster a culture of involvement and pride in the service Influencing and engaging key stakeholders through active promotion of the Trust s vision and strategy Consulting with statutory regulators to ensure they are fully informed and assured of the Trust service plans Engaging and consulting with diverse communities to ensure Trust services meet their needs Fulfilling the Trust s responsibilities as a publicly accountable and transparent organisation through honest, open communication 5.2 KEY MESSAGES It is important to be clear what the key messages are that we want to communicate to our stakeholders and engage with them to influence our strategic direction. As outlined previously the Trust has a clear vision, Right Care, Right Time, Right Place. The Trust has committed to a set of values which demonstrate that we are a Caring, Fair and Inclusive organisation. The following key messages reflect both the vision and the values. These will be constantly reviewed to reflect the Trust s current position. Key Message 1: A patient focussed organisation High quality patient care is at the forefront of everything we do We are committed to meeting and exceeding national and local quality standards We want patients and the public to possess the tools and information in order to choose well when using health services and to stay safe and healthy in doing so Key Message 2: An organisation that delivers its performance standards efficiently, with high quality There is more to the ambulance service than a trip to hospital patients may be referred via a number of pathways following a 999 call We deliver a high quality and responsive emergency service and for those who need an emergency ambulance, we are getting to more and more patients faster than ever before We are strengthening our non-emergency patient transport services to become a market leader and provider of choice We deliver an immediate and effective response to every major emergency in the North West of England NWAS is the organisation best positioned to provide urgent care for the North West. NWAS Communication and Engagement Strategy Page: 7 Of 16

8 Key Message 3: We provide value for money and make best use of taxpayers money, making financial decisions in a socially responsible manner. The challenging financial climate and changes in the NHS mean that effective communication and engagement is more critical than ever. We will make the necessary efficiency savings whilst protecting our front line services The Trust has been assessed as an efficient well-managed organisation, meets all its CQC requirements and has a strong financial record. Key Message 4: A good employer We have, and continue to develop, a highly skilled and trained workforce We are an employer of choice for professionals pursuing a rewarding career With a highly skilled and trained workforce delivering a complex and demand service the Trust was awarded the Investors in People Gold Award, the first ambulance trust to achieve this. The Trust is committed to the health and wellbeing of its employees and invests in initiatives to support this Key Message 5: A good partner We work in partnership with our communities and commissioners to develop integrated healthcare services and promote health and well-being. The Trust s urgent care strategy demonstrates the benefits the Trust can offer to manage demand and provide patients with a more seamless and appropriate urgent care service. Key Message 6: A listening and responsive organisation We have an open and transparent approach to engaging with all stakeholders We are responsive to the diverse cultural and geographical needs of the communities we serve We actively seek patient feedback to improve the services we provide The language and content of the messages will be adapted to reflect the views and needs of stakeholders. 6. STRATEGIC APPROACH 6.1 PRINCIPLES All corporate communication activities will reflect the Trust s values and the following principles: An emphasis on two way communication mechanisms and relationship management Information which is clear, accurate, consistent and uses appropriate language NWAS Communication and Engagement Strategy Page: 8 Of 16

9 Dialogue will be respectful and constructive Communications and engagement delivered in partnership with commissioners, health care providers and other stakeholders wherever possible Timely and clear two way communications with our staff in advance of any other stakeholders, wherever possible Open and honest communication that demonstrates the Trust s accountability to its stakeholders Communications that reflect the needs of patients, the public and our staff Adherence to the duties outlined for Category One responders under the Civil Contingencies Act (2004) Improved health outcomes Communication and engagement activities which demonstrate value for money. All communications will comply with legislation in terms of the Data Protection Act 1998, Freedom of Information Act 2000 and equality and diversity legislation. Any promotional work will be done in accordance with the Department of Health s Code of Practice for promotion of NHS services, published March FRAMEWORK The framework for communication and engagement outlined below is based on the Department of Health Strengthening Accountability Toolkit. It ensures the Trust engagement activities are on a wide spectrum ranging from providing information, obtaining feedback and building relationships to working in partnership - making sure it is appropriate to stakeholder needs and that the right strategic approach is being employed to meet the Trust objectives. The Year One Delivery Plan will provide the detail in terms of each audience, the approach and activities required. This will be published as part of the final strategy document. Minimum involvement Maximum involvement Giving Information Feedback Dialogue Partnership Supporting and promoting Trust priorities and key messages Awareness raising Informs priorities Monitoring performance Assessing quality and expectations Learning and service improvement Deciding priorities Building relationships Forums Consulting and involving Delivering priorities Designing services Networks, membership, Council, volunteers Eg. Leaflets, events, press releases, web copy Eg. surveys, compliments Eg. stakeholder meetings, online forums, social media, consultation Eg. Joint campaigns, service redesign, community engagement NWAS Communication and Engagement Strategy Page: 9 Of 16

10 events Higher numbers involved Lower numbers involved 7. STAKEHOLDERS Stakeholder mapping is used as a continual tool to identify all key stakeholders and their current relationship with the Trust. It is recognised that relationships with stakeholders will evolve and change depending on a wide range of factors both local and national. Regular assessment and review of the current state of our relationships with stakeholders will ensure this is constantly being improved on. This strategy groups the stakeholders into three key areas: INTERNAL STAKEHOLDERS These include all staff groups managers trade union representatives SERVICE USERS AND THE PUBLIC These include patients and callers general population of the North West who are our potential patients community groups governors and public members volunteers EXTERNAL STAKEHOLDERS These include a wide range of stakeholders as follows: National Commissioning board and Area Teams Clinical Commissioning Groups and Clinical Support Units Health Overview and Scrutiny committees Members of Parliament and Local Councillors Health Watch NWAS Communication and Engagement Strategy Page: 10 Of 16

11 Statutory bodies and regulators including Monitor and Care Quality Commission Clinical and urgent care networks Partner Organisations including stakeholders within NHS Trusts, Emergency Services, Voluntary Aid Organisations, British Heart Foundation Media representatives 8. HOW WILL WE DELIVER THIS STRATEGY? 8.1 INTERNAL STAKEHOLDERS: STRENGTHENING INTERNAL COMMUNICATION AND STAFF ENGAGEMENT We will strengthen internal communication and staff engagement by: Continually testing the temperature of staff morale and key issues which are affecting them with systems in place to facilitate this. Develop an organisational culture where staff ALWAYS put the patient at the heart of everything they do by involving them in real time feedback captured by them from patients We will advance the use of technology to support staff engagement and particularly our mobile workforce We will undertake conversations between board members and staff via a listening exercise to enable all staff to understand the Trust s vision and their role in achieving it. Staff will be able to make suggestions and improvements in a quick and easy way and receive a timely response. 8.2 PATIENTS AND THE PUBLIC: SHAPING EXPECTATIONS AND EXPERIENCES We will ensure patients, the public and their representatives will have a voice and their views are acted upon by: All patients will be given the opportunity to provide real time feedback We will secure and maintain public confidence through the publication of information to ensure patients and public are informed about services when making decisions We will set targets for improvement based on patient feedback and publicly report on progress We will apply social marketing and insight techniques to provide a greater understanding of patient perception and service use and how we can meet and manage expectations We will use engaging and innovative marketing campaigns to inform patients and the public of what to expect from their ambulance service when they call 999 or access the PTS service. NWAS Communication and Engagement Strategy Page: 11 Of 16

12 We will consult with patients, public and representatives and invite scrutiny on key services changes and re-design at an early stage to ensure their full involvement in service development The Trust s membership community will have a voice which is heard and acted upon by the organisation through a jointly developed membership strategy led by the Council of Governors. We will continue to recognise the value of the Trust s volunteers and increasing their level of engagement with the Trust to support the Trust s community engagement agenda We will implement a Community engagement programme which takes into account the diverse population and varying geography of the North West and increases the Trust s visibility with local communities in a cost effective way through partnership, networks and joint initiatives. 8.3 EXTERNAL STAKEHOLDERS WORKING AND DEVELOPING IN PARTNERSHIP The Trust will have effective two way communications with all stakeholders to ensure mutual understanding and involvement in the development and achievement of the Trust s aims and objectives and associated business strategy. We will do this by: Creating and implementing a stakeholder framework which is responsive to regional and local stakeholders and facilitates proactive and reactive engagement with health and social care partners, commissioners, clinical networks and statutory organisations Undertake a review of current engagement with statutory and political influencers to improve the level of engagement with overview and scrutiny committees, councillors and MPs and new emerging bodies such as Health and Wellbeing Boards and Health Watch Use continual stakeholder mapping and assessment tools to understand the needs of all stakeholders and employ strategies to meet those needs. Support the successful integration of key trust plans to support service and quality improvements by providing strategic communication advice regarding stakeholder management and consultation. Support the CardiacSmart and the Chain of Survival initiatives increasing community defibrillation and training throughout the region. 9. MEDIA MANAGEMENT To manage the Trust s reputation in all media including social media and maintain public confidence, the Trust will: 1. Maintain an effective press office function which manages reactive enquiries and delivers a proactive PR annual programme NWAS Communication and Engagement Strategy Page: 12 Of 16

13 2. Deliver an effective major incident communications function to ensure the Trust s meets its public warning and informing requirements of the Civil Contingency Act including: Membership and involvement with all Local Resilience Forums Robust alert and on call procedures A fully tested Major Incident Toolkit BCP/Resilience plans in place 3. Work with our NHS and emergency service partners to promote healthy and safe lives 10. ENABLERS The communication and engagement and patient experience teams will use a number of functions and techniques to support delivery of the strategy s objectives including: channel management and correspondence horizon scanning and news gathering stakeholder profiling and mapping consultation exercises watching briefs and specific handling strategies stakeholder impact assessment techniques political monitoring regular stakeholder briefings staff and patient feedback via traditional and new media social marketing and behavioural insight techniques community engagement programmes creative campaigns and marketing collateral written and face to face communications patient and public information press releases and media statements videos, stories and filming events and conferences 11. RISKS A number of risks have been identified in the delivery of this strategy. These include: Capacity to deliver effective communications across the large footprint and with a high number of stakeholders The ability to effectively engage with staff because of the nature of a mobile workforce and some of the technology limitations. NWAS Communication and Engagement Strategy Page: 13 Of 16

14 The changing NHS environment and financial climate requiring increased communication levels to support the change management agenda. Specific projects within the delivery plans will have associated risk registers. All risks are captured on the Trust wide risk register system and will be monitored through the relevant Directorate and Committee risk registers. It is recognised that the type and levels of risk will change over time and will be monitored accordingly. 12. IMPLEMENTATION ANNUAL DELIVERY PLAN The strategy will be delivered through annual delivery plans which will be published alongside the strategy with regular progress reports. 13. RESOURCES The communication and engagement activities of the Trust are delivered by: Public and Internal Communications Team Patient Experience Team Press Office The Communications and Patient Experience Team sit within the Performance and Patient Experience Directorate, the structure is outlined over the page. NWAS Communication and Engagement Strategy Page: 14 Of 16

15 Performance and patient Experience Directorate Communications and Patient Experience Team *cquin funded posts The Team has a finite non-pay budget to support communication and engagement activities. The Team will ensure all activities are within the planned budget spend and best use of resources and value for money are provided. Any requirement for additional funding will be subject to the approved business case process. The strategy will support the delivery of the Directorate s required cost improvement plan. Opportunities for additional funding may be sought from CQUIN schemes which meet the necessary quality and innovation criteria. NWAS Communication and Engagement Strategy Page: 15 Of 16

16 14. MONITORING AND EVALUATION 1. The strategy will be reviewed annually alongside progress with the Delivery Plans. 2. Progress reports on the strategy and delivery plans will be presented to the Communities and Quality Committees quarterly and Executive Management Team and Board of Directors annually. 3. Specific projects will also be shared with relevant Committees or Groups as appropriate. 4. The progress reports will focus on delivering the objectives outlined in section COMMUNICATING THE STRATEGY 1. The Strategy will be published on the Trust s website and a précis shared with staff groups. 2. The Strategy will be ed out to Directors/senior managers/heads of service. 3. The Strategy will be presented to all service line senior management teams. 4. All key stakeholders identified within the Strategy will receive a copy of the strategy. NWAS Communication and Engagement Strategy Page: 16 Of 16

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