This week we welcomed a small group of engagement practitioners to a tool prototype evaluation workshop for the Rigorous Stories major project.   The group consisted of practitioners from Children and Families Services and NHS speech and language therapy in St. Helens, Gloucestershire NHS Trust, Children and Young People’s Participation at Blackburn with Darwen Council and the Families Division at Blackpool Victoria Hospital, who were all invited to come due to their enthusiasm and creativity for using engagement tools.

Leapfrog has been working closely with Becci Addey, a Paediatric Patient Experience Officer as well as some of her colleagues and members of the youth forum at the hospital to co-​design tools to improve how evidence from engagement activities is translated and used to report and inform decision making.  Together we have co-​designed four tools that operate at different levels of the evidence translation in the organisation, which we prototyped and brought along with us to the workshop to share with the others and gather their feedback and ideas.  The tools are…

Engagement Translation Key

Through Rigorous Stories workshops, we found that bringing together people to discuss how they translate evidence from engagement and report it to different levels of the organisation helped the people involved understand the importance of their work and how it influences decisions.  It also drew attention to the importance of making sure the people who originally engaged are kept informed about the effect their ideas and feedback have on services.

This tool consists of a key to prompt teams consisting of members of staff from different levels in the organisation to come together to discuss and draw out their process for translating using the symbols suggested.

Engagement Reporting Cards

Staff from Blackpool Victoria Hospital Families Division found that talking about who receives information at each level of the organisation, how they receive it and pass it on and how effective it is helped them to generate ideas for how to improve the process. These cards can be completed by teams to prompt discussion and generate ideas around how to communicate and provide information to people at different levels.

Snapshot and Story

Staff and young people at Blackpool Victoria Hospital discussed the need to improve the cycle of feedback from young people to management level and how it should be captured in a snapshot that delivers the key information.  We co-​designed a two page A4 Powerpoint template that contains information about the story and how it matches performance measures on one page and then another page that is delivered to management that contains just the key information and space for managers to respond to the work.

Prioritise Snapshots and Stories

When you are busy generating lots of data and feedback from engagement activities, how do you decide on what to focus on as part of your action plan and how to present it to managers in a way that actively engages them without resorting to the standard word documents?  This tool provides a space for engagement practitioners to prioritise snapshots of information and stories using axes and involve management in responding and challenging the priority.

The group dived straight into testing the Engagement Translation key, for which they came up with different and interesting ways to use it with different people and suggestions for symbols to include in the key.  They discussed the use of the Snapshot and Story tool, agreeing that PowerPoint was familiar and accessible them and they would have to test it in context to know whether or not it was effective.  They anticipated that the sticking points might be deciding what to include and encouraging managers to respond and fill it in.  However, suggestions for ways around this were suggested, including how it could be linked in with the Engagement Translation key.  We finished by working in groups to look in detail at the Prioritise Snapshots and Stories tool, which generated comments about the time taken to decide on suitable axes, different scenarios to use and how more structure could be added to the page or cards to support the different uses.

To conclude the workshop, the participants talked positively about the overall package of the Rigorous Stories tools and their willingness to test and feedback to Leapfrog.  The group left with arms full of tools to take back to their organisation and Leapfrog promised to be in touch very soon before the final tool launch on the 25th of October.