Statutory guidance for patient and public involvement in commissioning of health and care

This guidance, available online on NHS England’s website here, supports the CCG to involve patients and the public in our work in a meaningful way to improve services, including giving clear advice on the legal duty to involve.

The guidance sets out ten key actions for CCGs on how to embed involvement in our work:


Involve the public in governance


Feed back and evaluate

Every CCG must have a constitution, which is a legal document that describes how the CCG will carry out its work and be transparent in how and why we make decisions about which services to buy.


We must also explain how we involve people in commissioning work, following a clear set of principles.


Our CCG Governing Body also must include at least one “lay person” who knows our local area and can make sure we are listening to the voice of our public and opportunities are created to help people be involved in what we do.


We want people to feel valued and encourage them to take part in commissioning. One of the ways to do this is to make sure that if people take the time to share their thoughts, opinions, ideas and concerns, we take them on board and explain how that feedback has helped shape services.


Commissioning decisions are often very complicated and it’s not always possible to take on board every single bit of feedback or idea for change and sometimes the decision we have to make might not be the one you wanted – where this happens, we will always try to explain why.


Explain public involvement in commissioning/business plans


Implement assurance and improvement systems

Every commissioning or business plan must explain how public involvement will be carried out.


This means explaining how our priorities have been influenced by engagement and planning and budgeting for future engagement activity.

We need to make sure we are meeting our legal duty to involve. We want to make sure the ways we involve people help them share their views and feel like they’re being listened to. We’ll always look to improve how we involve people to make sure it’s as easy, valuable and rewarding as possible for everyone.



Demonstrate public involvement in annual reports


Advance equality and reduce health inequalities

Every year we must present an annual report that explains how we have carried out our legal duties, including public and patient involvement. A large section of our annual report is dedicated to this, as well as this report you’re reading now.

Our area is big and has a lot of different people, communities and groups within it. We need to make sure that as many people as possible have the chance to share their voice – especially if they’re from a community that struggles to do this, or find it hard to access health services for whatever reason.


When thinking about what we need to commission, we should be carrying out equality impact assessments to help identify those with the greatest health needs, those who face barriers to accessing services and those who are protected under the Equality Act 2010.



Promote and publicise public involvement


Provide support for effective involvement

If we want public to be involved in our commissioning activity, we need to make sure people know how to be involved!


We need to tell people about opportunities to get involved using many different “channels”, such as:


  • Websites
  • Social media
  • Newspapers and the press
  • Working with community and voluntary sector organisations


We need to make sure those working in the CCG are given the right information, training and support to help them involve people in their work.


We also need to remember that CCG staff are people too, and will have their own experiences of using our services, either as a patient themselves or through a family member or friend.


Assess, plan and take action to involve


Hold providers to account

Before we carry out any work we should, wherever possible, check to see what the benefits of public involvement might be, and what our legal duties for involvement are.


Examples of where we should involve the public include:


  •  Changes to how services are commissioned
  • Buying new services through a procurement exercise
  • Starting, changing or ending a contract to provide services

We often work with other organisations, such as local hospitals, which provide services to our population.


We need to make sure that our providers meet the standards set out in their contract with us when it comes to communicating with and involving services users, the public and staff.


NHS trusts and NHS foundations trusts have their own legal duty to involve the public, which can be found under section 242 of the National Health Service Act 2006, as amended by the Health and Social Care Act 2012.


You can view the full guidance document on NHS England's website here: 

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