Engagement describes the on-going process of developing relationships and partnerships so that the voice of local people and partners is heard. Involving communities meaningfully is essential to effective service improvement and system transformation. It helps to identify problems and design solutions as well as influencing programme reviews. Holding extensive discussions with a wide range of people helps us develop a robust case for change.
Formal consultation describes the statutory requirement imposed on NHS bodies to consult with overview and scrutiny committees, patients, the public and stakeholders when considering a proposal for a substantial development of the health service, or for a substantial variation in the provision of a service. It is required when a change is likely to have a substantial impact on access, the wider community, patients and/or service delivery. The outcome of a formal consultation must be reported in public, together with the feedback received, and must show how this has been taken into account in any recommendations and decision making.