The Engagement Cycle

Stage 4: Working with patients and the public to procure services

Commissioners should take the learning from service design and pathway improvement work to set standards and outcomes for service delivery. This learning can be used within contracts and service level agreements.

Contracts should specify

  • What engagement activities providers should undertake;
  • What patient experience data providers should be collecting;
  • How they should be reporting it;
  • How they can take action in response to that data.

If patients, carers and the public are engaged in the procurement process it can lead to traditional commissioning procedures being ‘opened up’ and injected with intelligence that comes straight from patients.

Things to think about

Involve people in different aspects of procurement

  • People can be involved in ensuring that patients and the public inform the development of tenders and identify providers who better meet the needs of patients, scanning for innovation and identifying potential providers, participating in decision-making panels and making resource decisions
  • The benefits include increasing public confidence in, and better relationships with, providers of services. It also paves the way to improved monitoring and performance management, particularly if patients are also part of those monitoring processes

Use what you already know

  • Ensure evidence of what matters to patients derived from service redesign work is part of standards, outcome indicators and specifications within contracts.

Identify social innovation

Engage patients and the public in identifying providers who can deliver innovative solutions (e.g. voluntary sector, social entrepreneurs, social enterprises):

  • Consider creative methods in procurement decisions;
  • Consider participatory budgeting approaches that allow enhanced public decision making over resources.

Build capacity for people to be involved

  • Engage and support patients and public in procurement processes – in developing tenders and as part of procurement panels;
  • Make sure there is clarity about patient representation on panels – their role, terms of reference and support and training;
  • Keep the wider public informed. Hold briefing events so that the wider public find out what is going on and about proposals being developed.

The Engagement Cycle