These are guidelines relating to community engagement in developing public health services in the UK, including some discussion of the challenges faced and the evidence base of the guidelines. It talks of the value of 'asset-based' approaches, that is of involving community organisations and patient groups who are already active on the ground. It emphasise the importance of evaluation from the earliest possible stage in the engagement. There is no abstract in the document but it starts by outling some overarching principles:
1.1 Overarching principles of good practice
1.1.1 Ensure local communities, community and voluntary sector organisations and statutory services work together to plan, design, develop, deliver and evaluate health and wellbeing initiatives (see sections 1.2 and 1.3). Do this by:
- Using evidence‑based approaches to community engagement (see collaborations and partnerships and peer and lay roles).
- Being clear about which decisions people in local communities can influence and how this will happen.
- Recognising, valuing and sharing the knowledge, skills and experiences of all partners, particularly those from the local community (see learning and training).
- Making each partner's goals for community engagement clear.
- Respecting the rights of local communities to get involved as much or as little as they are able or wish to.
- Establishing and promoting social networks and the exchange of information and ideas (on issues such as different cultural priorities and values).
1.1.2 Recognise that building relationships, trust, commitment, leadership and capacity across local communities and statutory organisations needs time:
- plan to provide sufficient resources (see identifying the resources needed)
- start community engagement early enough to shape the proposed initiative
- establish clear ways of working for all those involved
- start evaluating community engagement activities early enough to capture all relevant outcomes (see evaluation and feedback).
1.1.3 Support and promote sustainable community engagement by encouraging local communities to get involved in all stages of a health and wellbeing initiative. Do this by:
- identifying and working with community networks and organisations, particularly those reaching vulnerable groups or recently established communities
- involving communities in setting priorities.
1.1.4 Ensure decision‑making groups include members of the local community who reflect the diversity of that community. Encourage individual members to share the views of their wider networks and others in the community. Groups should adhere to the key principles outlined in this section.
1.1.5 Feed back the results of engagement to the local communities concerned, as well as other partners. This could be communicated in a range of ways, for example, via the local newspaper or community website, via community groups or via public events in community venues or other widely accessible places. See evaluation and feedback.