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

PPGs provide an opportunity for local people to get involved with their practice and influence the provision of local health services. They are vital in ensuring the patient voice is heard. Group members contribute their views, make suggestions, and provide feedback on services they may have used.  Groups can also get involved with supporting local health initiatives.  In some areas, patient groups come together in their local areas or across Primary Care Networks to share good practice, to discuss health issues and raise patient concerns. 

The ICB recognises the value of PPGs and are keen to support both PPGs and practices with their development and success, particularly as we know there is variation across the Black Country since Covid-19.  In order to help with their development, the ICB commissioned training courses for both practice managers and PPG chairs to help rebuild, improve membership and effectiveness, but also to empower patients with the tools and skills to be key participants in their PPGs.

The Patient Leaders Programme was commissioned as a pilot and included skill development sessions which was open to current PPG chairs and those interested in becoming members of a PPG.  Topics included:           

  • Tools and techniques to engage people in discussions about their health and the services they need.
  • The importance of objectivity and overcoming bias.
  • NHS structures and the use of technology to encourage people to have a voice.

These 6 sessions have been turned into an evergreen offer of training for any PPG member, which is accessible on our website here.

To supplement the training, we have developed dedicated PPG website. This includes local, regional, and national support tools including training, templates, case studies of best practice, peer support networks and videos to help PPG members make the most out of their involvement.

Since the course concluded, the ICB received a good news story from a PPG Chair in Oldbury.  After attending the programme, the Chair worked with their practice manager to put into practice some of the communication tools. After sending out text message invites, they have seen an increase in membership, up from 15 to 50 members. This now means an additional 35 voices are being heard and can influence decisions within the practice. We were also contacted by a member of the practice to say thank you for the course, as she received the text message and was able to join her PPG as typically they only communicated online, which she didn’t have access to.

To aid the longevity of the course, we hosted “PPG share and learn tables” at our November 2023 People Panels. This conversation was intended for PPG’s, or those interested in being involved in their PPG to learn more about how other PPGs are run, and to learn from one another and share best practice advice such as recommending the use of noticeboards within the practice to promote meetings, and some shared that they meet within the community rather than the practice to be able to make other connections and to meet people on their terms. There were discussions about future ideas for PPG’s between members such as funding for practices to support PPG’s and ideas for PPG celebration events to acknowledge contributions to the practice.

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.


Rachael talks about working alongside Change Grow Live to demonstrate our principles of “listen, act and feedback”, not just for our people and communities but also for the trusted voices we work with and how this ultimately works to improve outcomes.


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