Accountability means that we are expected to uphold our commitment to involve, justify our actions or decisions and be responsible for them. When involving people and communities in our decision making, we will demonstrate how feedback has influenced decisions and be transparent when change cannot be made. We will be upfront from the start about how much influence the voice of people and communities can have as this can vary depending on the decision or project. 

What good looks like

  • Listen, Act and Feedback. Clearly demonstrate the actions taken because of insight and involvement and be open as to the reasons why if changes cannot be made.
  • Provide clear and accessible public information about vision, plans and progress, to build understanding and trust.
  • Involve people from the beginning with setting priorities, plans and decision making to enhance visibility, transparency and public accountability.

Case studies

The purpose of People Panels is to provide a mutually beneficial space that promotes meaningful conversation, deep listening and which leads to stronger relationships, wiser action and real collaboration.

Our People Panels are powered by members and representatives of our diverse communities. And, at the request of these ‘real people’, there’s always a handful of health and care leaders and decision makers in attendance. All participants are invited to bring forward topics and themes that are important to them; that includes exiting priorities for one (or several) of the 4 Places – Dudley, Walsall, Wolverhampton and Sandwell, the Black Country as a whole or new and emerging 'community priorities'.

They are people powered, safe and inclusive spaces which ensures Integrated Care System (ICS) partners are able to gather views and opinions on matters where they have a legal duty to involve people and communities whilst also creating the conditions for people with a variety of experiences and perspectives to help shape and inform future priorities for the ICS. 

Since launching the People Panels in September of 2022, participants have brought forward and initiated conversations on a wide range of matters including prevention, communications, integration, cost of living, health inequalities and access. Where work is already underway to address the themes arising at People Panels, we aim to connect the experts by experience into those conversations to ensure lived experience is rooted in problem solving and decisions about how to improve things for everyone.

For emerging themes that don’t naturally fit into any of the existing decision-making spaces and structures, we decide together what needs to happen next. It might be that a group is convened to further explore and discuss the topic or it might be that certain topics are just beyond our reach and should be revisited at a later date.

Find out more about past people panels and how to get involved in future ones.

Feedback on digital projectsAt People Panels and during Community Conversations, people regularly to talk to us about digital access as both a barrier and enabler to living healthily and happily. So, at People Panels in January 2023 colleagues from our digital programme were invited to join, listen and host a table conversation about how together, we might better address issues faced by those experiencing digital exclusion.

Our colleagues, working in digital, plan to use the insights and first-hand experiences that were shared with them to inform digital priorities and objectives in the Black Country NHS Joint Forward Plan. Digital colleagues are also keen to understand how they can continue to work with experts by experience outside of People Panels to shape and coproduce projects and services that are inclusive and improve people's health and happiness.


Taking the lived experience that people are sharing and then connecting that into spaces that care deeply about the same themes proved the catalyst for Emma, and other colleagues working in digital, participating in People Panels. By attending, they were able to share details of the scheme, give live demonstrations of a device to anyone who was curious and provide support on how people can access the scheme.

Since September, Black Country Connected have received several referrals many of which arrived directly as a result of participation at People Panels and many more indirectly from the ripples that continue afterwards. Emma and colleagues are now working with a local Residents Association to explore how the scheme could be flexed to meet the needs of communities facing the highest levels of digital exclusion and how the Residents Association might operate as a distribution partner for devices in the area.

Emma talks about how People Panels have enabled her to hear from, and connect with people, communities and grassroots groups who she might have found difficult to reach otherwise.


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