“No decision about me, without me!”  

This means that we should involve people and communities in decisions that may affect their care or the services they access. We should always engage with those who have used or are currently using the service as they are the experts on what that experience was like and how we might make it better. The gold standard is co-production, and we will always try and adopt this method where appropriate.

What good looks like

  • Value the voice of our experts by experience, ensuring co-production is a central mechanism to participation.  
  • Deliver on our clinical priorities and improve outcomes for our population in partnership with staff, people who access care and support and unpaid carers.  
  • Create more opportunities for personalised care 

Case studies

During our work to embed the voices of people living with dementia and their families, loved ones and carers into the development of the new strategy, we took an approach that started with people, and put their experiences and stories at the forefront. Louise talks about how this influenced her team's work when developing the strategy.



We are championing a future where ‘lived experience’ is valued equally alongside ‘learned experience’. It’s really important therefore, that our leaders recognise the importance of lived experience in coproducing a future where everyone thrives and remain focussed at all times on who they are here to serve.

Feet on the Street is a bi-monthly activity the ICB involvement team run to bring a snapshot of the Black Country population's views and experiences on certain themes to the ICB Board. The team goes into public places and spaces to ask local people three questions and reach out to our networks to understand what they’re hearing/already heard. We gather the views from people and the groups we meet and play these into the Board room at the start of each meeting to set the scene for discussions that follow.

Social isolation

Throughout the last 12 months, we've consistently heard people talk about feelings of isolation and its negative effect on their well-being and quality of life.

As part of a recent Feet on the Street exercise, we wanted to deepen our understanding and explore the impact of social isolation on people’s health and happiness and what more the NHS can do to help prevent it. We also wanted to learn of any barriers people are facing that might prevent or isolate them from accessing NHS services.

What we heard was collated into a video and presented to the ICB Board in January 2023 - see the video and read the response from the Board.

In Wolverhampton, the commissioning team are rewriting good practice guides for primary care, which sets out reasonable adjustments to improve access and experience for those who experience the worst health inequalities in Wolverhampton.  

We want to make sure that the recommendations in these guides really value individuals as experts in their own lives, reflects what people need, and improves clinical outcomes in partnership with those people who access care and support.

The ICB involvement team are working with groups and organisations across the city to discuss their experiences, understand the barriers they face to accessing primary care and what’s needed to overcome these.  Those that we have met with so far have very different and specific needs, for example refugees need to book appointments in advance to allow time for a translator to be arranged, while people experiencing homelessness need to be able to walk in to book appointments.

Black Country Voices is intended to be a collective of individuals that is demographically reflective of our population. This database will be a tool that allows us to quickly survey a group that represents that Black Country, with the results intended to shape and influence our plans. Whilst we are currently building on our membership base, we are planning a forward view of monthly topics to snapshot survey the panel on. The first will be around engaging with primary care, and how as patients, they want practices to involve them and hear their voice which will influence our ICB involvement team offer of support to Primary Care.

Read more about Black Country Voices.

Our ICB involvement team supported HealthWatch Dudley in their project that teamed up with a local provider of supported accommodation for homeless and vulnerably housed people for six months in the second half of 2022. Healthwatch worked with Midland Heart Housing Association, to establish a monthly breakfast club at Saltbrook Place in Lye.  

Healthwatch attended regular drop-in sessions over tea and toast, where they signposted residents to services and listened to the barriers the tenants experienced accessing health and social care within the Dudley borough. Healthwatch added value to our visits with creative workshops, funded by Dudley Council for Voluntary Service (CVS) “What it’s like to be me” programme. The arts-based workshops enabled residents to holistically share their stories.  

Through being consistent and building trust, Healthwatch have been able to gain valuable insight on the things that matter most to them, which have been collated to improve services that will aim to improve peoples, health, well-being, and happiness.  As well as recognising there is still work to be done to improve access to further opportunities.  

Read through the report here.

You might also be interested in...