Leeds Beckett researchers inform national public health guidance on community engagement
The team from the Centre for Health Promotion Research at Leeds Beckett, which included Professor Jane South (pictured above), Dr Anne-Marie Bagnall, Dr Joanne Trigwell, Judy White and Karina Kinsella, collaborated with researchers at the University of East London in developing a comprehensive review of community engagement interventions taking place across the UK. The full guidance document can be viewed at http://www.nice.org.uk/guidance/ng44.
The review included an analysis of published academic papers and reports (available at http://bit.ly/LeedsBeckettNICE), and six detailed case studies, including interviews with community stakeholders about how they engage in projects to improve health and wellbeing (available at http://bit.ly/NICEcasestudies), to provide evidence of current and emerging UK practice relating to community engagement.
Principal Investigator, Dr Anne-Marie Bagnall, commented: “We are very pleased to have contributed to the evidence base underpinning the NICE guidance on what works in community engagement. We are uniquely placed in the Centre for Health Promotion Research at Leeds Beckett to undertake this type of work as we have access to a wide range of community groups and organisations through our community campus partnership for health, CommUNIty, and through our Health Together health and wellbeing research consultancy service. We hope that the guidance will have a positive impact on the way commissioners and the public health workforce engage and work with communities to empower them to improve their health and wellbeing.”
The research found that community engagement projects across the UK cover a wide range of health and wellbeing topics, and include some of the most marginalised and socially-excluded groups of people, using a varied ‘toolbox’ of approaches.
Dr Bagnall added: “Community engagement and empowerment have been consistently linked to strategies to address health inequalities, with emphasis given to enabling people to play a greater part in local decisions that affect their health and lives. The key themes that we found in the review which related to successful community engagement were: trust within communities and between community members and service providers; respect for community members’ expertise; allowing sufficient time for relationships to establish and outcomes to be seen; commitment of key people; and flexibility in approach.”
The updated NICE guidance has also sign-posted to the Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England guide to community-centred approaches, which was developed by Professor South, who is currently on secondment to PHE as national advisor on communities. This report can be viewed here.
Kevin Fenton, National Director for Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England, has blogged about community engagement in response to the new guidance. This can be viewed here.