STRUCTURE: Kent and Medway has begun a consultation on draft plans for a community engagement strategy.

According to the trust, the strategy is intended to access “real expertise within our communities”.

Proposals in the draft include:

  • The Learning and Development team will ensure that all staff receive appropriate training on Community Engagement including developing an understanding of power relationships and involvement techniques;
  • The Human Resources team and Communications team will work closely together to advertise opportunities using community events, social media and specialist publications to reach out to seldom heard groups and service users;
  • Managers of all front line teams will allocate a member of staff to champion community engagement within their teams, in partnership with the PPCI (Public, Patient and Community Involvement) Team;
  • The PPCI and Communications teams will work together to create a virtual notice board on the KMPT website outlining the full range of engagement and consultation opportunities including recruitment, working groups and standing committees;
  • All decision making forums that include external representation will include no less than one third of representation from service users, carers and community members including seldom heard groups.

The consultation period will close on 22 July 2011.

In an accompanying letter, trust director of social care and partnerships James Sinclair said it “has always been committed to improving services in consultation with the community it serves”.

He added: “Now we are taking this commitment one step further by producing a new community engagement strategy that maps out how KMPT will work with the people of Kent and Medway to ensure they are engaged in decision making from the front line to the board.”