Active participation of people with lived experience of inequality – Do we practice what we preach?

Do we enable people to play an active and influential part in our work? Get involved in new research that aims to find out.

One of our statutory duties is: "Promoting and supporting the involvement of people in the commissioning, provision and scrutiny of local care services."

Why? Because we know that if health and care services make decisions without involving those affected by them, the outcomes are likely to be less effective. And this is why local Healthwatch across England work so hard to make sure that local people play an active and influential part in decisions about care. 

But, do we practice what we preach by maintaining the same standards that we expect of others? Do we have a common understanding of what good participatory practice in Healthwatch looks like? And do we have examples of excellence that need to be more widely shared?

We've launched a new research project to help answer these questions and ensure we're doing all we can to involve communities who face inequality in making decisions about our work. 

Who is running the research?

We've commissioned Expert Citizen and Power With. Using a peer-led approach, they will map the current ways in which we make decisions with people who are affected by the issues we are hoping to influence. For example, to what extent do people with lived experience of an issue shape the questions we ask, how we engage communities and the recommendations we then make?  

What will be delivered?

Expert Citizens and Power With will:

  • Work with a group of people affected by health inequality to develop a shared understanding of participatory approaches and a way to measure their efficacy.
  • Develop case studies illustrating exemplary practices across local Healthwatch. 
  • Hold two training sessions to present the project's findings and introduce participatory tools you can use. 

Three ways to get involved

This work will only be successful if you get involved.

1. Take half an hour to complete a survey telling us about your experience

Take the survey 

2. Join one of two online focus groups. The first will be on Wednesday 20 April, 2022 13:00 to 15:00. The second will be Friday 29 April, 2022 13:00 to 15:00.

Sign-up to 20 April event

Sign-up to 29 April event

3. Nominate volunteers or community members who have been involved in your engagement and influencing work and would be interested in sharing their experience and helping shape the participation tools (participant fees will be covered). To nominate someone, ensure you have their permission and then email Bridget from Power With (

Email Bridget

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