Stakeholder engagement is about understanding and involving the different groups interested or impacted by the work you do, and building relationships with them.
The purpose can be to develop a long-term conversation and dialogue, or to reach a specific goal through collaboration. But good engagement isn’t a tick-box exercise – it needs to employ different routes and techniques to reach groups and make sure they are involved.
Involvement offers advice and guidance on stakeholder engagement. In this section, we tackle community engagement, seldom-heard and voluntary and community sector. There are many more stakeholders to consider, such as other healthcare organisations, patients and media, which is why a mapping exercise is so important.
Stakeholder engagement is good for an organisation. It helps to align the work you do with the groups you who use, develop, monitor, or run services. This helps foster partnership working and means services and products are more likely to be fit for purpose - for the people who use and need them.
In some cases, such as consultations, stakeholder engagement is a legal duty. The Health and Social Care Act 2012 says the NHS has a duty to involve people in decisions about their health care and to consult and involve people when planning or changing commissioned health services – failing to engage with stakeholders means falling short of that standard.
Stakeholder engagement, when done well, is something that happens all of the time – and with the right groups identified in mapping exercises. It’s particularly important when seeking people’s views.
A scattergun approach won’t work when engaging with stakeholders - it only scratches the surface and does not yield the kind of information and relationships needed, with the groups that are most interested in or have the most impact upon the work you do. Identifying stakeholders through a mapping exercise will help develop more a targeted approach.
There are many ways to engage with stakeholders - for example, through social media, at events, in face-to-face conversations and at meetings. Involvement gives guidance on how to engage using some of these methods.