The Integrated Care System sees leaders across the ICB, NHS Trusts, Local Councils, Healthwatch and the VCSE sector come together around a shared vision and values. We all want the best health and social care outcomes for the people of the Black Country, but this has all too often meant that we are duplicating tasks, and this has had a profound impact upon people and communities’ willingness to share their views and experiences. We will find ways to work better together for the best outcomes for everyone. 

What good looks like

  • Further collaboration between Integrated Care System partners, people and communities to share learning, skills, knowledge, experience, connections with a focus on what’s strong. 

Case studies

Hear Gill talk about how we are working across the system to build mutually beneficial relationships within Place to ensure the best outcomes for our people and communities.

We have been able to work together and be creative, collaborate, and have positive outcomes from our last two Dudley People Panels, where the carers hub has built relationships with local health professionals, which have helped support health awareness events that have supported their local community as well as inviting the ICB to be part of their carers strategy, which has allowed unpaid carers to give their views on support within health and health has become part of the carers strategy.


In September, we were approached by City of Wolverhampton’s public health team to discuss our principles and approach to working with people and communities. They were keen to take a bottom-up approach to improve the sexual health services across the city and were curious about some of our previous involvement work, particularly the Joint Forward Plan microgrants and the Black Breasts Matter project

Since then, the council have developed a multifaceted approach to listening, through resourcing trusted voices within the local community to hold focus groups, a survey and attending people panels where they have raised sexual health services as a conversation topic for deeper more meaningful conversation around local needs and experiences.

As a result of taking this approach, ten local community and voluntary organisations have been commissioned to speak with people who usually might not have been heard, on their own terms, having conversations with trusted voices within their comfort zones, leading to honest and open feedback, with people who are seldom heard from a survey alone, be that due to digital or language barriers, past experiences or preferences. Reaching into wider communities and following our principles and approach to working with people and communities will lead to better sexual health services in Wolverhampton, which are more suitable and accessible for people living in Wolverhampton.

The Community Organisations approved for the grants represent some of the key communities pertinent to this engagement, including sex workers, the homeless community, people from Black African and Black Caribbean communities and people with visual impairments. They have been vital in us capturing some key views about access to sexual health services in Wolverhampton and wider issues around sexual health.

Hear Emily Machin, Health Improvement Officer with the Public Health Team at Wolverhampton Council, describe the work around sexual health services:



We have begun establishing communities of practice in each of our four places with a range of colleagues from partner organisations and VCSE colleagues who work with people and communities. The networks provide opportunities for sharing ideas, knowledge, skills, networks, training, and best practice case studies to learn from what works and feed into our Place-Based Partnerships.

Hear Sally talk about forming communities of practice in Dudley across the partnership.


Our Involvement team spend one day a week out in communities, sitting with and listening to what matters to them. During a recent visit to Change Grow Live’s Atlantic House in Dudley, we heard that they’re keen to improve the relationship between the local mental health trust and Atlantic House to support those in the recovery journey who use the services of both Atlantic House and the local mental health trust.  

We worked to connect Atlantic House and the mental health trust and supported collaborative working to encourage a more robust pathway for service users. This has resulted in support services such as the vaccination bus for COVID-19 and the Flu Jab visiting Atlantic House and signposting Sport, Physical Activity, and movement opportunities to the service users. 

We've since heard that our work with Atlantic house has left them, and the people they work with feeling heard. We will continue our commitment to listen and work with them, in listening to their important views and opinions on how we can improve their health, wellbeing, and happiness.  

Against the backdrop of fewer resources, competing pressures and worsening health inequalities, now more than ever, we must come together to harness the power of people and communities and generate fresh solutions focused thinking. In January 2024, the ICB involvement team convened involvement practitioners from across the Black Country for a one-day introductory session in to the Art of Hosting.

We were joined on the day by 25 friends and colleagues all of whom had an interested in or were curious to explore and practice new ways of creating highly participative environments that allow meaningful conversations to flourish. During the session, we explored participatory practices for hosting dialogue spaces as well as tools and models for convening, engaging in, and making sense of the many perspectives that come out in a conversation that really matters to people. Read more about the session in this harvest record of the day. 

We are now building a community of participative dialogue practitioners in the Black Country to continue sharing, learning and building confidence and capacity in participative methods for involving people and communities. 

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