Identifying your stakeholders should be one of the first steps in engagement work. It will help you establish groups with a concern or interest in what you are doing, showing you who you need to reach and ultimately, this will give your work direction and focus.
Involvementoffers advice and guidance on how to identify and map your stakeholders.
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.
Identifying your stakeholders will help you make sure you are fully engaging with everyone who needs to be involved, meeting these legal duties.
Researching your stakeholders is vital – you may need to call upon experts in a particular network to help you consider fully who to engage and pull together a complete list.
You should then divide the list between groups according to the influence or power they have, and their level of interest in the work.
Before each piece of engagement work you should identify your stakeholders. This becomes even more important when dealing with service redesign, consultations and other large-scale projects where you will need to engage a wide variety of people.
Who you include in your stakeholder map will very much depend on their concern or interest in what you are doing. Typically, your list will include:
- Commissioners: those that pay the organisation to do things
- Customers: those that acquire and use the organisation's products
- Collaborators: those with whom the organisation works to develop and deliver products
- Contributors: those from whom the organisation acquires content for products
- Channels: those who provide the organisation with a route to a market or customer
- Commentators: those whose opinions of the organisation are heard by customers and others
- Consumers: those who are served by our customers: i.e. patients, families, users
- Champions: those who believe in and will actively promote the project
- Competitors: those working in the same area who offer similar or alternative services