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Adult Social Care and Health engagement

Devon County Council is committed to enabling people who receive our support to have their say in the planning, commissioning and provision of services, whenever possible.

We have a number of different ways of engaging with service users and carers and the wider public, to ensure we learn from experiences of those people we support.

This page outlines our approach to engagement and contains links to pages giving more details of the ways in which we involve people in adult care and health issues.

Types of engagement activity

The ways in which we listen to service users and carers vary depending on the type of service and the changes we are making to it. We work out which aspects of service development can realistically be influenced by the people receiving those services and the best way to enable them to have their say.

Methods of engagement include:

  • discussion forums
  • issue-based focus groups
  • task-and-finish and other working groups
  • surveys
  • mystery shopping
  • participation in board meetings
  • public meetings
  • participation in procurement processes
  • and more.

How we undertake these activities

Adult social care and health engagement within Devon County Council (DCC) is co-ordinated by DCC’s Involvement & Equality Team. We work in partnership with Living Options Devon as holders of a contract to provide local engagement activities, and we undertake some activities ourselves. We also commission Healthwatch Devon, the local statutory consumer voice organisation and work with the County Council’s independent Equality Reference Group.

The Involvement and Equality Team

The Adult Social Care and Health Involvement Team consists of:

  • Paul Giblin – Involvement Manager
  • Kathryn Bird – Senior Involvement Officer
  • Sally O’Donnell – Involvement Officer
  • Robert Hawken – Engagement Officer/Co-chair of the Learning Disability Partnership Board
  • Joanne Haynes – Commissioning Support Assistan

We can be contacted via our mailbox: Socialcareinvolvement-mailbox@devon.gov.uk

Making involvement meaningful

In order to enable service users, carers and the wider public to have their say on adult care and health, the Involvement Team work with other managers to identify aspects of our services that people can realistically influence. This ranges from seeking feedback on high-level strategies, such as Living Well with a Learning Disability in Devon, to undertaking detailed co-production of aspects of our service provision, such as developing new assessment forms.

We organise regular forums for engagement, such as the Learning Disability Partnership Board, and a range of other groups and activities which we undertake on an ad hoc basis.

Relevant DCC forums and groups

Here is more detailed information about the main forums and groups used to gain insight into adult care and health issues:

Joint Engagement Forum

A quarterly gathering of service users, carers and relevant organisational representatives which reviews ongoing involvement activities by DCC and the two NHS CCGs.

Learning Disability Partnership Board

A two-monthly Board combining people with learning disabilities, carers, relevant providers and health and social care managers.

Autism Involvement Group

A specialist forum for people with autism, ADHD and related conditions and their carers, usually meeting every two months.

Commissioning Involvement Group

A group of people with lived experience of receiving social care services and equality issues who can give us in-depth insight into the effects of changes being made to social care and health. This group meets when required and exact member varies according to the issues being discussed.

Reshaping Personal Care Group

A group of service users and carers established to help implementation of the Living Well At Home contract for regulated personal care. This group meets when required.

Equality Reference Group

A corporate DCC forum of people from organisations representing each characteristic protected by the Equality Act 2010, which meets 6 times a year.

Autism Partnership Board

A service user and a carer representative are supported to sit on this board, where they provide insight from their lived experience and discussions at the Autism Involvement Group.

Carers Ambassadors and Carers Strategy Delivery Board

A number of carers have been recruited as local Carer Ambassadors who can represent the views of carers and help shape the development of services. Some Carer Ambassadors sit on the Carers Strategy Delivery Board.

Health and Wellbeing Board

The Joint Engagement Forum has a seat on the statutory Health and Wellbeing Board to represent the perspective of social care service users and carers, and Healthwatch Devon has a seat on the board to represent the perspective of the wider public.

Involvement partners

Living Options Devon provide the Devon Engagement Service as holders of the local engagement contract jointly commissioned by Devon County Council, Northern, Eastern and Western Devon NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (NEW Devon CCG), and South Devon and Torbay NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (S. Devon and Torbay CCG). Living Options are required to maintain a network of organisations and individuals who can give us insight into the lived experience of receiving adult social care, including people with characteristics protected by the Equality Act 2010.

We commission Healthwatch Devon as the statutory health and social care consumer organisation for the Devon County Council local authority area.

Find out more about Living Options Devon and Healthwatch Devon below:

Policy for adult social care and health involvement

National Cabinet Office guidance requires consultation, engagement and involvement to be ‘reasonable and proportionate’ to the subject matter being engaged on. We have therefore developed a policy which we apply to our engagement activities and forums to ensure that people can make their views known to us with an understanding of our ability to respond to their comments. This covers ‘reasonable adjustments’ to enable participation, payment of expenses and conduct.