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Working with Involvement Partners – Colleague resources

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An Involvement Partner is a person who has received support from Nottinghamshire Healthcare, or cared for someone who has and works with us to improve services.

We work together with Involvement Partners because it is important to understand what matters to people, their views, what we are getting right and what needs to improve. Their experience is invaluable to us in shaping the services we design and the care we provide.

By working together and bringing in a range of views, skills, knowledge and experiences we can make better informed decisions that lead to services that are more caring and better meet people’s needs.


How we can help you to work with Involvement Partners

The information contained on this page and in the documents you can download will help you to involve people in service improvement projects, Quality Improvement projects and changes you make to care environments and care pathways. The information here is mostly practical.


Colleague quick guide working with Involvement Partners.pdf [pdf] 544KB (PDF) (opens in new window)

Our Involvement Principles

We are committed to working in genuine partnerships to improve services. It is important to include people who use services, their carers and families, people from our local communities and colleagues from local organisations in the decisions we make.

By focussing on what matters to them, we will provide services that better meet people’s needs and make a positive difference to their health and wellbeing.

We follow the below Involvement Principles when we’re creating partnerships and involving people in improvement work:

  • Ensure people can have influence over decisions and make a difference.
  • Include and listen to people with lived experience in collaborative partnerships.
  • Include and listen to the diverse communities we work with in collaborative partnerships. We should also reach out beyond the collaborative partnership and connect with the wider community so other people can share their views and contribute to the partnership’s work.
  • Give time to build relationships in the collaborative partnership based on mutual trust and respect, kindness, openness and honesty and listen to people with lived experience.
  • Support people so they can use and develop their knowledge and skills to contribute effectively.
  • Plan, decide and act together including agreeing the purpose, resources, outcomes and timescales from the start of the work.
  • Have honest conversations that that emphasise dialogue where we listen to and understand others’ views and agendas and give the time to arrive at collective answers.
  • Make communication simple, accessible and inclusive, share the information that enables people to be part of the conversation and feedback on what has changed.

Where we are undertaking one-off pieces of work, meetings, consultations etc where there are not opportunities to create an ongoing partnership, the above principles should be applied as well as they can. 



Working together with Involvement Partners – before, during and after


Planning before you begin your piece of involvement work will give you, and others, the confidence that it will be inclusive, constructive, respectful, well-paced and have integrity. It is important to be clear on what you are trying to do, the timescales and what people can and can’t influence. You should consider who should be involved and how you will include diverse communities. You will also need to be clear about practicalities such as what information is needed, how you will facilitate inclusive meetings and how people are supported and paid expenses.



As you progress, you will want to gather as many views and ideas as possible, from the widest and most diverse group you can. When you meet you will need time to build relationships, trust and effective communication. You will need to agree principles, expectations and outcomes. You may also need to look at how you gather and share information as well as ideas and views from a wider community. Bringing these together and interpreting them transparently gives credibility and allows the best ideas and recommendations to emerge. On longer projects you will also want to review how well the group is working together and make sure everyone feels engaged and heard.



As you draw your involvement work to a close, you will want to be clear about what has been decided and achieved, how (and to whom) you will communicate the outcomes and what will happen next. You will want people to feel good about having been involved and you will want to recognise their contribution so that they know they made a difference.

The document below will guide you through the things you will want to consider at the beginning, during and at the end of your involvement work (you might take a lighter-touch with short, small-scale pieces of work).



Our support for you

You will be supporting the Involvement Partners; The Involvement, Experience and Volunteering Team is here to support you.  

Some of the things we can support you with: 

  • Planning - Talk us through what you’re hoping to do, and who you’d like to involve, and we can advise you on how to go about it.  
  • Our advice and support to you to register, reimburse expenses and support Involvement Partners 
  • Promoting your involvement opportunity - We might be able to help you find the people you want to involve (online, from local networks/groups, from your service)  
  • Hosting you - We have two Involvement and Volunteering Hubs with meeting rooms and equipment. You can book this space by contacting us.  
  • Getting started - We may be able to attend your first involvement meeting/group to help you set up how the group will work together and make decisions collaboratively  
  • Co-facilitation - We may be able to co-facilitate your project with you.  
  • Problem solving - If you have any problems when involving people, we’re here to help you solve them.  

If you would like our support, contact us and we will ask you to describe what you’re planning (and what help you would like) on our New Works form. We’ll use this to inform the help we offer you and the resources we can share with you.




Registering, supporting and reimbursing Involvement Partners

Involvement Partners need to be registered on the Trust’s central Involvement Register. Among other reasons, this is so that we legally and safely store their details and the details of their emergency contact.  

The IEV team will be promoting opportunities and sharing the registration page widely. You can also do this:

The Trust will reimburse people’s expenses when they get involved, including travel. It is important to offer this and process expenses promptly to enable everyone to contribute.  

Please provide Involvement Partners with the Expense Claim Form. Please sign this to confirm the expense claim is legitimate, and email to the IEV team (involve@nottshc.nhs.uk) and we will approve/process them for payment.



Colleagues can find further guidance relating to the reimbursement of expenses by downloading the Reimbursement Policy (8.04)



Once registered, Involvement Partners will receive a ‘Welcome to Involvement’ email from the IEV Team (and may receive more support from us if they need it). Asthe Involvement ‘Host’, you are responsible for supporting the people you have involved.  

You should aim to provide any reasonable pastoral and practical support to enable them to feel comfortable and to participate fully and confidently.  

We recommend you: 

  • Contact all Involvement Partners prior to the first group meeting/call to answer any questions they might have and share any information you can.
  • Support people during their involvement by:
    • Always making it clear what is expected of them
    • Ensuring there is space and time for their input
    • Recognise that talking about their own or their loved one’s experience could be distressing, give them time before/after to raise any worries or debrief
    • Understand people’s preferences and difficulties with communication
    • Check in with the group (and individuals) regularly to ask whether people understand how things are progressing, and feel engaged and heard

People may also be contacted by the IEV Team regarding group support (for example, those involved in interviews or Quality Improvement Projects). This is optional but might be helpful to them and will help us to understand whether we’re doing a good job of involving people.

Guide to involving service users and carers in colleagues interviews

Involving service users and carers in our recruitment of new colleagues ensures we find the right people for the job - those who demonstrate the right skills, values and attitudes.

You are welcome to find and involve people in interviews without the support of the Involvement, Experience and Volunteering Team, but these people should always be registered as Involvement Partners (they can register here). The guide below will help you to do this, and we recommend that you and the service users/carers you involve sign the guide as assurance that the information has been read and understood.

Our team can help you to recruit service users and/or carers to join your interview panels, and we can advise you in how to involve them respectfully and supportively. Please contact us if you’d like our help.





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