LINks Local Involvement Networks. An introduction Joy Tweed, health scrutiny support programme 18/02/08
In April 2008 LINks will replace patient forums. • A LINk will be established in each local authority area. • A LINk is made up individuals, groups and organisations with an interest in local care services. • LINks will build on existing patient, public and service user involvement, but will broaden statutory involvement to include social care services as well as the NHS.
Role of LINks • To promote and support the involvement of people in the commissioning, provision and scrutiny of local health & social care services. • To obtain the views of people about their need for, and their experiences of, local care services and make these views known to the relevant organisations/people.
Continued.... • To enable people to monitor and review the commissioning and provision of care services. • To convey people’s views to organisations responsible for commissioning, providing, managing and scrutinising local care services, and recommend how services could or ought to be improved.
Possible participants of a LINk Neighbourhood renewal network Youth council Carers network Individuals LINK Patient transport groups Foundation Trust governors Tenants groups Local business groups Minority ethnic groups Older People’s Forum Patients’ groups Self-advocacy group Support groups for specific service users Faith groups
LINks need to be: • Inclusive – participants can be user groups, faith groups, local voluntary and community sector organisations and interested individuals. But involvement does not require membership. • Diverse – representative of all sections of the local population. • Accountable – LINks will need clear governance structures which are accountable to LINk membership and the wider community.
LINKs & the host organisation • Each local authority (with social services responsibilities) will receive a targeted grant from the Department of Health. • Each local authority will procure a host organisation (the host). • The host will be responsible for the establishment, maintenance and support of a LINk in the local authority area.
The LINk will operate independently of the local authority, within its own governance structure and decision-making processes. • It will be for the LINks, with the support of the host organisation, to decide on the governance structure it wishes to adopt.
The host will support the LINk to: • Develop its model of working and how it will manage and decide on its activities. • Develop terms of reference. • Establish good governance.
The host will support the LINk in its work. This may include: • Finding out the views of local people through surveys, focus groups, etc. • Providing appropriate venues. • Preparing reports. • Supporting LINk governance meetings. • Developing on-going recruitment activity.
Host collects data from LINk participant & identifies a common theme relating to health and/or social care. Discussion within the LINk (by a working group, a virtual discussion group or workshop event) concludes this may be an issue to be looked at. Commissioner contacted by host or by LINk (dependent on model). Issue and evidence discussed. Commissioner may be aware of issue and LINk asked to wait until action has been implemented to monitor impact of change or may be unaware of issue and agree further review is important. LINk working group, discussion forums, outreach and other methods are used to raise the issue and collect evidence. Host provides support as required by LINk in undertaking and analysing data, organising outreach etc. Report to commissioners, LINk members, OSC etc. Response received. Outcome reported to LINk members and in annual report.
Powers of LINKs LINks will have specific powers to enable them to influence the improvement of local services. For example, they will be able: • To enter specified types of premises and view the services provided. • To request information and receive a response within a specified timescale. • To make reports and recommendations and receive a response within a specified timescale. • To refer matters to an Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) and receive a response.
LINks relationships and roles Commissioners of services LINks can enable commissioners to better understand the services people wish to receive, so that they can negotiate contracts that are responsive to local need and experience.
Providers of health and social care services LINks can monitor services and recommend how services could or ought to be improved. If appropriate, LINks can refer matters to commissioners and/or Overview and Scrutiny Committees. Both have a duty to respond.
LINks will provide a conduit through which health and social care commissioners and providers can reach out to local communities in order to seek views, inform, consult and involve people in planning, prioritising and decision-making. LINKs are intended to significantly strengthen the way local communities influence health and social care services.