The role of patient and public involvement in the ICB

Patient and public involvement is built into the fabric of how our organisation functions. We know that listening to and working with people leads to improved health outcomes.

The ICB is responsible for lots of different aspects of health and care meaning that participation, collaboration and understanding patient experience will be happening across a range of service areas.

By working to understand patient experience and gain insight it will help us plan and improve health and care across Suffolk and north east Essex.

Read our Patient and Public Involvement Strategy for more detailed information on how we’re planning to work with members of the public to improve our work.

You can also learn more about how health and care systems hear from people and communities via this article from the King’s Fund.

Let’s talk SNEE (Suffolk and north east Essex)

We recognise that just as members of our communities are diverse, so too will be the ways in which they want to collaborate and engage with us. We already know that face-to-face meetings, forums and collaboration is not right for everyone. Many people want to collaborate with us at times and circumstances which suit them. In Suffolk and north east Essex, we manage a digital platform which hosts our engagement opportunities.

Letstalksnee.co.uk is where engagement, involvement and co-production activity take place. Join the platform to discover how to get involved with projects and discussions that are taking place in your local community or the big issues affecting health locally. There are engagement hubs for each of the alliance areas, with information about how to join the forums and groups local to you.

It’s quick, easy and open to everyone.

However, we also know that other people would prefer to attend an event or meeting to discuss things in person with us, and so these face-to-face collaborations will continue to take place.

Alternatively completing either a digital or paper survey or questionnaire suits other people. Therefore, we will continue to gather experience through methods such as this.


We will collaborate with the public and our partners to design, commission and improve health and care for people in Suffolk and north east Essex.

Quality improvement and assurance

The public can expect to be part of quality assurance activity learning from the patient experience, insight and narrative to identify quality improvement opportunities across the ICB which are developed with local people.

Patient safety partners

The Patient Safety Strategy of 2019 sets out the expectation that patients should be included in the surveillance and management of patient safety. The ICB has appointed member of the public to be Patient Safety Partners (PSPs) who will be highly involved in the organisation’s safety culture. Their role will be to attend Committees and meetings across the ICB, being involved in patient safety improvement projects, working with the board to improve patient safety and be involved in training for staff around patient safety.

Service development and design

The public can expect to support the design and development of new services or pathways either at Alliance or system wide level, learning from experts by experience to work with providers and partners.

Commissioning, procurement and performance

The public can expect to be part of the commissioning cycle, working alongside commissioners and partners.

Governance and decision making

The public can expect to be involved in the decision we make, hold us to account and scrutinise outcomes.

The Patient and Public Involvement Committee is a constituted sub-committee of the ICB’s Governing Body. This sub-committee provides a route for our diverse communities to inform and influence discussion about quality and commissioning processes, decision making, planning and prioritising.

Patient and public involvement will be coordinated at a local level to support the work of our three health and wellbeing alliances. This work will be fed up to the ICB Board through representation on the ICB Patient and Public Involvement Committee.

You don’t need to be a member of a patient group or sit on our Board to make a difference. We regularly seek the view of our communities when redesigning or evaluating our services. This often involves helping us out by sharing your experiences or opinions via a quick survey.

We also ensure that the feedback you offer via our Patient Advice and Liaison Team reaches the highest levels of management in the ICB. We do this by compiling a monthly report. These reports are included in the publicly-available Board papers for the Board to review each time they meet.

Co-production is central to our work of designing and evaluating health and wellbeing services. But what exactly does co-production mean?

Co-production is a way of working that involves people who use health and care services, carers and communities in equal partnership; and which engages groups of people at the earliest stages of service design, development and evaluation.

Co-production acknowledges that people with ‘lived experience’ of a particular condition are often best placed to advise on what support and services will make a positive difference to their lives.

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As we grow up we learn that doing things with other people is usually better than doing things on our own. More effective, more meaningful, more efficient, more satisfying. It’s the same idea at the heart of co-production. Co-production is a way of thinking about public services.

It believes it’s better for professionals to design services with communities than provide services to them. That way, people in the community turn from passive recipients into active partners. With professionals supporting change, not delivering it.

Now here’s the thing, co-produced services have been around for a while. One example, Neighbourhood Watch, a service designed by the community, run by the community, answering needs defined by the community and supported by the professionals in blue. Co-production in action. There’s practical common sense to co-production. But co-produced services are also based on principles that services should be co-owned between state and citizen. That all people have something of value to contribute. And that the process of designing a service should start by tapping into these things. Looking for ways to use them and help people flourish.

Now what people can contribute might not have monetary value. They could be kindness or willingness to care for someone for example. But that’s one of the great things about co-production. It assigns value to these fundamental human gifts not valued in the money economy, but essential for all of us to coexist.

Co-production is important now more than ever. Public services are under huge strain. Co-production is the best way to make these services more economical in the long run and better for the people they serve. More effective and relevant, since service users help design their own services. More sustainable too – since engaging communities to plan their own services encourages buy-in and ownership and that’s before the knock-on effect. in co-produced services people participate, confidence grows and networks strengthen. Ticking all the boxes for community resilience and a greater sense of well-being. The impact is massive.

In Falmouth Cornwall co-produced community programs reduced unemployment by 71 percent and reduced postnatal depression by 70 percent. In Glyncorrwg, South Wales, a co-produced strategy for community safety reduced crime rates from the highest in the area to the lowest. In Elian Kyra, Cardiff, time credits have had such an energizing effect that 600 people have contributed 12,000 hours of time in one year.

We can start making these results more common. The first step building the principles of co-production into our organisations’ visions, so when faced with a new challenge our first question is no longer what do people need from us, it’s what can everybody give. How can we plug this gap together? A small change for now a huge step for the future

Page last modified: 19 July 2022
Next review due: 19 January 2023