Creating a new NHS England: NHS Digital and NHS England have now merged. Health Education England will join us in April 2023. Learn more.
Representation in commissioning and delivery
When commissioning a digital service, think carefully about who a ‘user’ of a product or service may be. This may be a patient, family member or carer. It may also be a clinician, administrator or other health and social care professional. Often, it includes a combination of different groups.
Buying a product or service
When buying from a supplier, you will get the best deal and keep control if you are an informed customer. This means development and retaining in-house a solid understanding of the intended user needs and benefits.
Do thorough user research and involve people throughout the procurement process, from initial requirements gathering through to vendor selection and onboarding. This will reduce the risk of spending money on a product that is not actually the right one.
It may be necessary to make it a contractual requirement that your supplier engages with users, beneficiaries and representatives as part of their service design and delivery.
Require that your supplier upholds the same standards for engagement that you would if you were building the service yourself.
Working with the market
When seeking to influence a market or ecosystem, use the insights from people and communities to make sure that you are influencing in the right direction.
Insights from people and communities can also be very powerful in persuading others in the system to change how they do things.
Important things to consider
It is important to think about engaging people and communities from the early stages of your approach. Whether building or buying a product, people and communities should be involved in the delivery process.
Important questions to ask include:
- Who are the potential users of your product (this may include those using or delivering the service, or those responsible for the service)?
- Have you planned early for how to involve people and communities in your delivery process?
- Has your supplier given plans for how they will involve people and communities? Have you discussed this with them and are you content that these plans meet the standards you expect?