What can communications and engagement people learn from all the fuss about the NHS at the moment?

What a couple of weeks!  The NHS is certainly making the headlines.  As someone who cares a lot about good communications and engagement this has left me thinking: ‘What’s going on? What can we learn from this hullabaloo?’

Well, from all the news items I have seen recently and others that have entered my subconsciousness, here’s some unrefined thoughts.

  1. Don’t confuse engagement with traditional communications.
  2. Don’t get caught in a cycle of constant rebuttal, take time to listen and learn.
  3. Be prepared to be wrong, or at least not 100% right . For example, consultation is about making better decisions so if it flushes out some weaknesses in your proposals be prepared to fix them.
  4. Allow time to fix problems unearthed by consultation and engagement.
  5. You can’t use pre-consultation engagement as an excuse to rubber stamp your consultation proposals.
  6. Politics will interfere in your consultation so you must always play fair.
  7. Other people won’t necessarily play fair so you will need to protect your consultation.
  8. Spinning preferred options in the name of consultation is risky business.
  9. Social media is democratising information distribution and heightening public scrutiny of  policy dialogues. The truth will out.
  10. Misleading anecdotes can easily spawn across social networks so the truth is hard to find.  The truth needs protecting.

Comments and observations welcome, as always.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s