Aneurin Bevan Health Board. Draft Communications and Engagement Framework

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1 Aneurin Bevan Health Board Draft Communications and Engagement Framework Working with you for a healthier community, Caring for you when you need us, Aiming for excellence in all that we do Author: Head of Communications Responsibility: Board Secretary Status: Draft V2 Approved by: Date Approved: Review Date:

2 1. Introduction It was clear through the transition to the new Health Board, and has been reaffirmed during the last 18 months, that good communications are essential to the success of the Aneurin Bevan Health Board. Good communications are also an integral part of delivering quality patient care. Effective and appropriate communication is more than the exchange of information. It involves the management of relationships within and outside the organisation and the need for involvement of patients, the public, our staff and partner organisations in the Aneurin Bevan Health Board area. Communication is as much about attitude and behaviour as it is about our message. This Strategy recognises the challenges of the next year and aims to put in place an overarching structure and framework for communication that sets high, but achievable, standards for the organisation. There are key principles which should guide the ways in which we approach communication and engagement within and outside the Health Board. These are: Communication is about getting the right messages to the right audiences, through the most appropriate channels at the most appropriate times. It is also a two-way process. As well as informing and sharing, it is essential that we listen and respond to what others have to say. Communication is everyone s responsibility and not just the role of one team. Every member of staff in every part of the Health Board shares the responsibility for effective communication. It is proposed that the benefits of using this Communication and Engagement Strategy will include: raising awareness of, and explaining, the Board s decisions, policies and strategies, justifying our actions and responding to feedback; promoting and publicising the Aneurin Bevan Health Board, providing information and highlighting achievements; promoting and encouraging the involvement of individuals and local communities in decisions affecting health and healthcare services; 2

3 informing and involving our staff, to ensure that they have access to high quality information in whatever way they find most appropriate and, therefore, can influence decision making and be empowered to take forward communication activity as part of their everyday roles, at the most appropriate local levels within the organisation. The power of communication cannot be underestimated. Good or bad communications can have a subtle, but serious impact on public confidence, staff morale and the reputation of the organisation, therefore this strategy has been designed to provide a clear and well coordinated corporate approach to communication and engagement activity throughout the Health Board. 2. Communicating the Vision The Aneurin Bevan Health Board s vision, Working with you for a healthier community, Caring for you when you need us, Aiming for excellence in all that we do will be integral in all our communications and we need to bring the vision to life through various communication methods for our staff, the public and stakeholders. The Health Board will also develop a suite of core, key corporate messages that will underpin its communication activity, particularly in support of its complex change agenda. The Annual Plan for Aneurin Bevan Health Board sets the agenda and provides a framework for delivering organisational priorities and targets as directed by the Welsh Assembly Government. The Annual Plan 2010/2011 outlines Aneurin Bevan Health Board s vision, which has five areas of focus supported by a more detailed set of practical, organisational objectives. The five main areas of focus are: Delivering Patient Centred Services: taking all opportunities to organise services around the citizen and balancing our whole system of care. Focusing on Safety, Excellence and Quality: we have a responsibility to ensure that patients and the population we serve receive the best quality, evidence-based care we can provide and also to ensure we deliver the basics exceptionally well. We also have a responsibility to consider quality in its 3

4 wider definition, including patient experience (and appropriate access), maximum productive and minimal waste, as well as clinical effectiveness and patient safety. This will be evidenced by case studies of frontline staff delivering high quality care for patients, in accordance with the 1000 Lives+ Campaign. Empowering our Staff: we can only deliver by trusting our staff, supporting them to make the right decisions close to the patient and to find innovative ways of developing the workforce. Achieve better use of resources: whatever changes we make and wherever we deliver care we must do this in line with best practice, with an excellent workforce, within the resources we receive and with confidence that improvements can be maintained. Improving our Public Health: at present, there is major inequity in health status within our population. We need to focus our efforts alongside those of Local Authority and other partners to systematically improve the health of the population in those areas of greatest need, through addressing determinants of health, supporting healthier lifestyles, and improving access to evidence based preventive services. 3. Purpose and Aims of the Strategy This Strategy sets out how the Aneurin Bevan Health Board will approach active communication, for instance the provision of important messages and news to support implementation of service changes and internal organisational changes. It also outlines how the Health Board will encourage two way communication with stakeholders. We will do this with patients, the public, our staff, Local Authority partners, third sector organisations and other partners and stakeholders who have an interest in the work of the Health Board. This Strategy aims to: Put patients, public and staff at the very centre of our communications plans, and ensure that they have access to high quality accurate and timely information in whatever language or format they find most appropriate, delivered through a range of communications formats and channels. Foster a culture of good two way communications with external stakeholders and our staff. 4

5 Ensure that stakeholders and our staff clearly understand the organisation s roles and responsibilities and are kept abreast of progress against them. Ensure that every plan, strategy and service change will include consideration of communication and engagement issues at the development stage. All major projects and reviews will be supported by proactive communication and will have an internal and external communication plan that identifies the target audience, methods to be used and the success criteria for the plan. Promote and publicise health and healthcare services, providing information about the Aneurin Bevan Health Board and highlighting particular achievements. Work closely with Public Health Wales on health promotion campaigns. Raise awareness of, and actively engage and explain, the Health Board s policies and strategies and seek feedback. Encourage feedback from patients, service users and other stakeholders to improve the range and quality of services, through their active continuous engagement in our planning and service development and also by ensuring the Health Board provides a range of opportunities for patients to feed back their experiences. Develop and sustain effective relationships with the media and other agencies and, wherever possible, seek to further develop opportunities for coordinated and joined up communication approaches across health and other public services. Celebrate the achievement and successes of the Health Board and ensure these are promoted and recognised, locally and nationally. 4. Communication and Engagement standards The Health Board in order to achieve these aims will also apply a number of organisational standards to guide the ways in which we will communicate and engage: 5

6 Honest and Open The reasons for decisions are available, decision-makers are accessible and willing to discuss why and how the decisions were made, for example, to the media or individual members of the public. When information cannot be made available the reasons for this are given. Questions are welcomed and answered promptly. Greater openness and honesty will be fostered with staff, the public and stakeholders about the challenges facing the Aneurin Bevan Health Board, the need for change and the current financial position. Corporate Approach Communication style and messages reflect a consistent view within the Health Board as a whole. Good practice guidance on communication will be produced and staff will be encouraged to develop their communications skills and techniques in accordance with this. Two-way communications and engagement Timely communications and engagement Systems exist to support communication at all levels of the organisation as well as across teams, departments, services and directorates. Staff and the public are encouraged to contribute ideas and opinions and give and receive feedback. Information is provided at the time it is needed, is relevant and is capable of being interpreted in the correct context. A programme of communication activity will be developed to timetable both internal and external communication and the development of corporate staff briefings, newsletters internal and external and specific events and activities Clear communications Information is in plain language, without jargon and with minimal use of acronyms; when acronyms are used, they will always be explained. Accessibility guidance is used to analyse our external communications and documents. Leaflets etc are developed with 6

7 the public. Written messages are clear and concise, use short sentences and avoid management terminology. The Aneurin Bevan Health Board s internal and external websites will be further developed and enhanced to support the delivery of key messages and encourage active engagement. Targeted communications Fostering Trust Well planned communications Consistency Efficiency The right messages reach the right audiences, in the right format, at the right time. Trust in the organisation is earned by responsible, open, honest and timely communication, promoting a culture of understanding and realism. Recipients of information can trust it and can expect to be advised of any change that might cause the information to be invalidated. Communication is proactive and planned and communication activity is appropriate and timely. Messages are delivered in a co-ordinated fashion, without contradictions. Communication issues are anticipated and planned processes are applied to deal with them. Communications and the ways it is delivered are fit for purpose, cost-effective, to budget and delivered on time. Integrated Internal and external communication is consistent and mutually supportive. Evaluated Communication activity will be internally and externally evaluated to ensure that it adheres to the principles and values of this strategy. 7

8 5. Developing a corporate framework for communication and engagement The Health Board recognises the important role of communication and will develop and support a culture of good corporate communication at all levels and with all internal and external stakeholders. This will be achieved through: Developing a communications framework and strategy The Strategy will support the Health Board to engage with and communicate effectively will staff, patients and stakeholders, enabling them to understand that we have a corporate approach to communications and an embedded culture of full participation and engagement throughout the organisation Establishing a strategic communications group This group will be chaired by the Board Secretary and will coordinate and direct communications across the Health Board. It will: Raise awareness of the work of the Health Board, helping to ensure that staff are fully engaged and that there is two-way communication. Develop a communication infrastructure in order to ensure consistent, accurate and timely messages are disseminated to internal stakeholders, to encourage full engagement and participation. Advise on communication tools/channels to meet the needs of various groups of staff, eg those who are hard to engage, and ensure that a variety of approaches are used to maximise accessibility of information and opportunities to engage staff. Identifying communication champions throughout the Health Board Communications champions will be identified to support communication across the organisation. The champions will help support the Communications Team and managers, by ensuring that accurate messages about key events, activities and developments reach all staff. They will also be there to encourage dialogue, feedback staff comments and suggestions to the Communications Team and source answers to staff questions. 8

9 Effectively linking with partner organisations for joint initiatives across the public sector A partnership framework and steering group will be developed and established to support the organisation s work effectively with our partners to deliver coordinated communications across work programmes and projects. Evaluation and measurement The Health Board will develop a number of evaluation and measurement tools to assist in the assessment of the effectiveness of this Strategy. Baselines will be established from which progress can be measured. Developing capability and capacity Line managers have a critical role to play in communicating key messages and effectively engaging with staff. Training needs will be identified for line managers and appropriate training made available to support the delivery of key communication messages as part of the Health Boards OD strategy. Providing guidance and support Good practice guidance on communication will be produced and staff will be encouraged to develop their communications skills and techniques in accordance with this. Developing our social media capability The Health Board s internet and intranet sites will be further developed and enhanced to support the delivery of key messages and active engagement. A Facebook page will be developed to test its value to the organisation, our staff and the public. The use of Twitter as a social engagement/communication tool will also be explored.. Annual programme for communications and engagement A programme of communication and engagement activity will be developed to timetable both internal and external communication and the development of corporate staff briefings, newsletters and specific events and activities. 9

10 6. Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities A corporate approach to communications will be adopted to ensure that effective communication of intentions, messages and decisions is considered at every stage of the planning process and through the operation of the organisation. Every member of staff of Aneurin Bevan Health Board will need to understand the contribution they can make to ensure that the processes of communication run smoothly and are effective. All staff will have a role to play in representing the organisation and communicating the corporate view to staff and the public. Effective communication will require the sustained commitment of the whole organisation and adequate financial, time and staffing investments. Roles and responsibilities need to be clearly defined and understood. The Chairman and the Health Board The Health Board will guide the development of positive communications. While the detailed work and implementation will be handled on a day-to-day basis by full-time officers of the Health Board, under the direction of the Chief Executive, it is important that the Board demonstrates collective commitment by providing direction to the organisation, approving key targets for communication and reviewing progress to achieving them. The Independent Members will play a key role in communications through the visits and walk arounds they conduct and the committees they chair. The Chief Executive and Executive Team The Chief Executive and the Executive Team will be key in ensuring the implementation, review and appropriateness of agreed communication approaches, and will support the implementation of the strategy. The Board Secretary, Head of Communications and Communications Team The Board Secretary has the overall lead for the communications function and acts as the principal advisor to the Board and the organisation as a whole on all aspects of governance and communications, leading on behalf of the Chair and Chief Executive the design and ongoing development of governance and communications frameworks of the organisation. 10

11 The Head of Communications will: o o o provide the management, communications expertise and vision to ensure that the Health Board has a high quality, comprehensive communications strategy through the Health Board Communications Team. manage the development and implementation of proactive and innovative internal and external communication strategies and monitor their delivery. with the Communications Team, ensure all communication channels (including routine publications, internet and intranet) are appropriately utilised and exploited in order to maximise their contribution to meeting organisational objectives. o work with the Communications Team and senior colleagues to set the standards for the Health Board s branding, corporate identity and its usage. Monitor and manage the brand, including producing high quality corporate image materials for events, conferences and publications. Staff of the Health Board It is the responsibility of each member of staff to find out the relevant communication processes in their work area and to participate actively in these to ensure communications are effective within and outside Aneurin Bevan Health Board. Every member of staff of Aneurin Bevan Health Board will need to understand the contribution they can make to ensure that the processes of communication run smoothly and are effective. All staff have a role to play in representing the organisation and communicating the corporate view to staff and the public. Effective communication will require the sustained commitment of the whole organisation and adequate financial, time and staffing investments. 11

12 7. Internal Communications 7.1 Background The Aneurin Bevan Health Board is a large and complex organisation, covering a diverse geographical area and employing around 14,000 staff. Good communication in an organisation of this size is challenging but essential. Good internal communications has particular relevance at times of change, to ensure that staff know what is expected of them and that they feel valued for what they do. All members of staff communicate to some extent with our wider communities. Effective internal communications can help them communicate more effectively with the external contacts and act as ambassadors for the Health Board. The Health Board will also develop additional direct corporate communication and engagement approaches with our primary care partners (Dentists, GPs and Opticians), for example a quarterly Chief Executives Bulletin. This approach will also be facilitated by the further development in initiatives in primary care such as the Neighbourhood care networks etc. 7.2 Principles of internal communication and Engagement The following principles of good internal communications practice are proposed for the Health Board: It will be face-to-face, wherever possible. It will be two-way. Feedback will be encouraged, acknowledged and acted upon. It will reflect good corporate communications practice generally, requiring the careful identification of message, audience, methods, responsibility, resources, monitoring and audit. It will reflect our values of openness and accountability. It will be planned, regular and consistent, offering messages that are clear, timely and honest. Communication performance and results will be monitored, with regular review and audit of communication effectiveness. Internal and external messages will not contradict or conflict. Internal stakeholders will have access to external communication and internal messages will be accessed by external stakeholders, unless there is an explicit requirement for their distribution to be limited. 12

13 Good internal communication and engagement will be embedded at every level throughout the Health Board, with individuals and teams fully engaged in the priorities of the Health Board. Good communication practice will be encouraged through training and at induction and will be monitored and appraised via line management processes. 7.3 Internal Communication tools and approaches Directorate/team/service/department meetings Each directorate etc, is responsible for holdings its own regular meetings and communicating and engaging with staff. Staff briefing this briefing system will be coordinated by the Communications Team. It provides key messages and updates, for face to face briefings and cascades once every two weeks. Content is sought in advance from the Board and Executive Team to ensure the brief reflects current issues and news. All comments and questions raised will receive a response. Special staff briefings these will be used to cascade key messages and news that fall outside the briefing cycle and require specific attention Your Call and Road shows offers the opportunity for staff to have direct access to the Board and Executive Team to ask questions and to hear important messages first hand. A series of these events is to be planned over the year. Intranet the intranet provides our staff with access to the latest news and developments. A new site was launched in January 2011 to encourage more hits from staff and to allow key messages to be instantly available. However, the intranet is only available to staff who have access to a personal computer. Work is underway to look at the potential for access to be available to Health Board staff securely via the external website. Staff Newsletter this will be published quarterly and is a newsletter for staff, developed with contributions from staff. There will also be a number of corporate stories, but its main aim is staff engagement and involvement. Video messages - specific videos developed throughout the year for staff to hear key messages and announcements direct from the Chief Executive, Chair and Executive Team members. 13

14 1000 Lives+ Campaign - A variety of methods will be used to promote the Campaign internally amongst Aneurin Bevan Health Board staff, including incorporating 1000 Lives+ progress in regular updates, briefings, newsletters and annual reports; placing updates and local news stories on the Health Board s Internet and Intranet sites and cascading the 100 Lives+ e-newsletter throughout the Health Board. Good practice and learning will be shared throughout the organisation, using case studies of staff who have made a tangible difference to inspire others to strive for success. 8. External Communication 8.1 Background The Aneurin Bevan Health Board needs to communicate clearly what it is doing, why it is doing it and what it hopes to achieve in future with the public, patients, carers and stakeholder organisations. We need to generate feedback from the public, patients, carers and stakeholder organisations about local health services, promote achievements and acknowledge setbacks. We need to demonstrate how the views of the public, patients, carers and stakeholder organisations have influenced our decision-making processes, including providing feedback to them. The ability of our communication to influence the perception of the population about the organisation and the health service in general should not be underestimated. 8.2 Principles of external communication Effective communication will help establish and maintain good relationships with our patients, the public and relevant stakeholders. Specifically it will: Help build confidence in our work and develop and maintain a strong corporate reputation. Support the delivery of the Health Board s vision and corporate objectives. Provide patients and the public with information about the range of health services and how to access them. Promote lifestyle choices that help people lead healthier lives. Help us be accountable to our stakeholders, promoting their engagement and involvement. 14

15 8.3. External communication tools and approaches Media releases - The Communications Team will regularly issue news releases to all local and regional media. News releases will also be copied to Board members and the Welsh Assembly Government. The Health Board needs to be proactive in promoting and protecting its reputation so that local residents have confidence in their local NHS. Good working relationships with media organisations and individual producers, editors and reporters are essential. The media can be instrumental in establishing, maintaining or undermining the reputation of the organisation in the eyes of our stakeholders. This in turn can influence staff morale and public confidence. We will continue to develop press releases from Board papers and send out to the press in advance of the Board meeting. Corporate publications - Corporate publications, including the Annual Report, are publicly available and are available on request in different formats (e.g. for visually impaired and in alternative languages). They will continue to be corporately branded, produced to a high quality standard, but cost effective and increasingly accessed online. Social media A Facebook page will be designed and developed to test the effectiveness of social media in the delivery of information to the public, patients and stakeholders. It is also proposed to test the use of Twitter within the Health Board. Website - The Aneurin Bevan Health Board s website continues to be developed to ensure the site is interactive, provides up-to-date information and can be easily accessed by all. Further work will be undertaken with web development to continue to make the site increasingly patient/public focused, accessible and interactive. Board Meetings - We will continue to promote Board meetings and the availability of the Board papers, both to staff and the public, through our website. We will advertise the time, date and location of meetings across localities in the Health Board area, to encourage public attendance and promote the role of Board meetings as the public face of the organisation. Patient information leaflets The Health Board is committed to making sure that any written information produced for patients, the general public, or any other group, is of the highest quality. The quality of information is also of increasing legal importance. The Disability Discrimination Act, Racial Equality Act and other recent legal requirements expose the organisation to potential litigation should any of its information not meet the high standards required. 15

16 Every member of staff producing information has a responsibility to ensure that what they produce: conforms to accepted 'best practice' in terms of quality, accuracy, presentation, readability and compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act is easy for patients and public to get hold of and to understand is produced as cost-effectively as possible does not duplicate information already available elsewhere. Specialist expertise will be made available from the Communications Team to provide guidance and advice to support this work. Partner publications - we will continue to use Publications produced by partner organisations to promote articles, information, consultation documents or events. These publications include newsletters produced by statutory and voluntary organisations, community groups and Government departments. They allow information to be shared and feedback sought from a wide group of stakeholders. It is also our intention to fully explore, and implement where possible, closer working relationships with our Public Sector partners on communications and engagement, which will provide a more coordinated approach for patients and citizens and also be more efficient for public organisations. We will also continue to explore joint approaches to working and special projects with our NHS and public sector partners, to maximise the benefits of partnership working. Effective joint communications processes will be central to the ongoing development of partnership work. Freedom of Information and Publication Scheme In accordance with the Freedom of Information Act 2000, the Health Board will proactively make the organisation s information available to the public. Our Publication Scheme, which is available on our website, is a complete guide to the information that we will publish routinely. We will make available to the public information on a wide range of activities, and we will review the Scheme at regular intervals and monitor how it is operating. 16

17 1000 Lives+ Campaign Aneurin Bevan Health Board will continue to raise awareness of the Campaign with external stakeholders by contacting the local press with stories of improvement and arranging photo calls to promote local success stories Lives + merchandise will be distributed at Health Board events. The Health Board will need to be flexible in its approach with our external communication particularly with our partners as our landscape changes and the requirement for more joint communications as we have seen with the Frailty Programme. 9. Target Audience The target audiences of this Strategy are the population of the Aneurin Bevan Health Board and all those other stakeholder organisations who have an interest in the roles and responsibility of the Health Board. However, through this Strategy, the Health Board will identify actively the specific audiences that relate to each of our communications approaches. These audiences will be segmented appropriately and we will tailor our approaches, so that we are better able to understand their needs and the ways in which they like to be communicated. Therefore, a variety of communication channels is necessary to deliver a consistent and relevant message, targeted in a manner which is appropriate to different stakeholder groups. Careful planning will be required to identify the most effective methods of communicating and engaging with all stakeholder groups, and reaching all target audiences. 10. Accessibility, equality and diversity The importance of effective and appropriate communications is recognised throughout this Strategy and has been central to increasing the accessibility of service and to achieving equity of access for everyone. We recognise that communication is not just about language and literacy. We will work to support and create an inclusive communication environment, not only enabling access to services, but also providing accessible information in an appropriate format and language. Creating such an environment through effective communication not only demonstrates respect for individuals but supports and promotes openness and access for everyone. 17

18 11. Measurement of Success The lead responsibility for monitoring and auditing the Strategy lies with the Board Secretary and the Head of Communications, with support from the Communications Team. The Strategy will be reviewed and evaluated annually. An associated annual action plan, identifying resources and budget, and which prioritises and monitors the delivery of objectives, will be developed to aid the implementation and evaluation of this Strategy. The Head of Communications will be responsible for identifying channels of effective evaluation and providing systems to monitor implementation and review, with the objective of keeping the Strategy up to date, dynamic and relevant to the needs of Aneurin Bevan Health Board. Measures of success will be indicated within the action plan. Some examples of measurement of success included: Staff surveys and feedback mechanisms Number of hits to Aneurin Bevan Health Board Intranet and Internet site, including 1000 Lives+ sections Enquiries/Feedback via Intranet and Internet site Performance Management programme Identification of barriers to communications, such as: o Inadequate information in messages o Lack of opportunities for feedback o Staff not taking responsibility themselves for finding out information Participation rates in specific campaigns, eg Why Don t We Media tracking, including number of media releases on patient safety activity 12. Risks how will these be regularly assessed and reported The risk of non-implementation of this Strategy will include: Staff not being engaged Low staff morale Lack of enthusiasm Staff views not being heard or considered and subsequent lack of commitment Lack of opportunity for communication/feedback Staff misunderstanding or not signing up to the Aneurin Bevan Health Board Vision and Values 18

19 Lack of trust in Aneurin Bevan Health Board and its management Poor reputation externally with the public, our partners and stakeholders Patients not being fully aware of service changes Entrenchment of silo mentality in locality offices and remote sites The risks will be monitored on a monthly basis and feedback will be given to the Board Secretary, Chief Executive and the Executive Team. 13. Conclusion Effective communication is the responsibility of every member of staff within the Health Board. Responsibility, therefore, is shared and success depends on the creation of a culture where communication is valued, and effective communication is seen as a priority, in practice as well as in principle. The effectiveness of this Strategy will depend on appropriate use of all possible methods and seeking to find new and innovative communications methods to deliver a coherent set of messages for the Aneurin Bevan Health Board. This Strategy is not a stand alone document. It is not in itself an action plan, but sets the principles, values and culture against which all communication activities, throughout the organisation, should be delivered. 19

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