Examination of Witness

Part of Health and Care Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 9th September 2021.

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Sir Robert Francis:

I suspect that there is something around reporting, particularly with the oversight of quality, inequalities and matters of that nature, which would be of assistance. I agree that flexibility of engagement is really important, and Healthwatch claims no monopoly over this. I see it taking place in guidance. If the emphasis is to change culture to one where the service is being responsive to people’s needs, as opposed to providing them with what the service thinks they need, there could be greater emphasis in the Bill on ensuring there is a strategic plan for engagement. There could be more emphasis on how the ICS is going to engage with local people and communities, and an actual requirement that it provides comprehensible information to the community about how people should be able to communicate with it. I know they sound like matters of detail, but if there is an obligation to make such things clear, it does not prevent flexibility, but it does oblige organisations to actually do it—and mean it. There will be lots of other ideas, I am sure.