Engagement or consultation?

Differences between engagement and consultation

Involving local patients, members of the public, carers and patient representative groups is important to the CCG so that we can be assured of commissioning the best possible services that meet the needs of local patients and that represent the best possible value for money.  

What is engagement?

Engagement describes the continuing and ongoing process of developing relationships and partnerships so that the voice of local people and partners is heard and that our plans are shared at the earliest possible stages. Examples of this type of engagement would include our patient participation groups and membership schemes where we ask members to get involved in various pieces of work.

It also describes activity that happens early on in an involvement process, including holding extensive discussions with a wide range of people to develop a robust case for change.

What is a ‘formal consultation’?

‘Formal consultation’ describes the statutory requirement imposed on NHS bodies to consult with overview and scrutiny committees (OSCs), 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.

Formal consultation is carried out if a change is ‘significant’. This is determined where the proposal or plan is likely to have a substantial impact on one or more of the following:

  • Access (e.g. reduction or increase in service due to change of location or opening times)
  • Wider community (e.g. economic impact, transport, regeneration)
  • Patients or users (either current or future)
  • Service delivery (e.g. methods of delivery or relocation of services)

The outcome of a formal consultation must be reported to the Trust Board in public, together with the feedback received, and must show how this has been taken into account in any recommendations and decision making.