Your story: How using the Quality Framework led to improvements

The Quality Framework can help you evaluate your service by highlighting strengths and weaknesses. Healthwatch Worcestershire explains how the Quality Framework helped them create an action plan and build better community relations.
Two women sitting on a bench outside a hospital chatting

What is the Quality Framework?

The Quality Framework is a self-assessment tool to help you understand where you are currently providing an effective service, and where you can make improvements.

There are six domains in the framework:

  1. Leadership and decision-making
  2. People
  3. Sustainability and resilience
  4. Collaboration
  5. Engagement, involvement and reach
  6. Influence and impact

Healthwatch Worcestershire have been contracted to deliver the service since 2013. They currently have ten members of staff and six co-opted volunteer Board members. We asked them about their experience of using the Quality Framework.

Why did you decide to undertake the Quality Framework?

We saw this as an opportunity to achieve more than a standard self-assessment process might offer. We used it as a team building exercise and involved neighbouring Healthwatch to help us learn and improve.

We aimed to minimise our use of unnecessary resources, improve our transparency and credibility and include an element of peer review by other local Healthwatch.

We decided to carry out some workshops to address and meet the criteria of the Quality Framework.

How did you approach completing the Quality Framework?

We held two workshops to address the domains of the Quality Framework.

The first workshop was held in person and attended by Directors, co-opted Board members, the staff team and support from other local Healthwatch – Healthwatch Herefordshire and Healthwatch Warwickshire. This workshop covered the following domains:

  • Leadership and decision-making
  • Engagement, involvement and reach
  • Influence and impact

The second workshop was held online and attended by Directors, co-opted Board members and the staff team. This workshop covered the remaining areas of the Quality Framework and developed an action plan.

What challenges did the Quality Framework highlight?

Completing the Framework highlighted several challenges that we were facing. These included:

  • Worcestershire has a population of 588,000 people, of which approximately 5% identify as being a member of an ethnic minority.
  • Communities living with health inequalities are spread across the six district council areas within Worcestershire. 
  • Commissioners and providers within Worcestershire services currently do not capture enough equality monitoring data.
  • Historically we have received low responses to surveys from minority groups.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic caused huge disruption to our engagement activities.

Once we identified these challenges, we were able to build an action plan to address them.

How did you improve your service following completing the Quality Framework?

We were able to build an action plan to ensure we addressed the areas that needed improvement. This plan included appointing a Lead Officer for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, rewriting our policy, and exploring how we could reach communities we weren’t hearing from and identifying opportunities to diversity our membership.

During the pandemic we were able to put this action plan in place whilst completing our COVID-19 vaccination survey. We connected with community leaders, Worcestershire’s Interfaith Forum and community groups and individuals representing ethnically diverse communities.

Our action plan proved successful for our COVID-19 vaccination survey - we received 357 responses:

  • 33% of respondents were from Black or Asian backgrounds and 10% identified as White European.
  • 49% of responses came from a district that normally has low response rate
  • We were able to build new connections and form relationships with partners.

Interested in the Quality Framework?

Find out more about the Quality Framework, how you can benefit from it and how to get involved.

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