DRAFT v.1 Date: 25/07/12


Specification for the procurement of a Local HealthWatch service for the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham [and City of Westminster]


1.1The purpose of this specification is to describe the basic characteristics and outcomes expected from a Local HealthWatch (LHW) commissioned jointly by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (LBHF) [and City of Westminster]. It is intended to provide tenderers for the Local HealthWatch with a common framework of minimum standards on which to develop their tender proposals.

1.2It sets out the activities required of a Local HealthWatch, the organisational characteristics required to undertake the Local HealthWatch role and the outcomes and standards expected in relation to the delivery of Local HealthWatch functions in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham [and City of Westminster].

1.3As stipulated in the legislation the Councils are looking for a social enterprise (i.e. a not-for-profit organisation) which can demonstrate experience and a strong track record in engaging communities and local people in public service development, ideally with experience in health and social care.


2.1The Health and Social Care Act 2012 requires local authorities to commission Local HealthWatch by April 2013. However, the secondary legislation applying to LHW have yet to be laid before Parliament and the final funding allocations for local authorities to commission LHW have yet to be announced, therefore there are pressures building which may mean that the April 2013 deadline could slip. The Councils have decided to progress the procurement exercise in order to ensure that arrangements are put in place to meet the current statutory deadline and bidders will be expected to prepare their proposals and bids on this basis. Therefore, contract negotiations will need to reflect requirements set out in the secondary legislation.

2.2The three Councils are liaising closely with the existing Local Involvement Networks (LINks) in the development of HealthWatch and expect the LINk legacy to be represented in the new model. However, we do not see the LHW as simply being a rebranded LINk.

2.3As a joint commissioning exercise, bidders will need to outline how they will provide the service which is locally accountable and independent on each of the three boroughs and highlight the benefits and efficiencies which their proposals will offer by commissioned jointly.

2.4The requirements set out in the Act mean the LHW will be expected to:

  • Provide information and advice to the public about accessing health and social care services and choice in relation to aspects of those services;
  • Make the views and experiences of the broad range of people and communities known to HealthWatchEngland helping it to carry out its role as national champion;
  • Make recommendations to HealthWatch England to advise the Care Quality Commission to carry out special reviews or investigations into areas of concern (or, if the circumstances justify it, go direct to the CQC with their recommendations, for example if urgent action were required by the CQC);
  • Promote and support the involvement of a diverse range of people in the monitoring, commissioning and provision of local care services;
  • Obtain the views of the wider community about their needs for and experience of local care services and make those views known to those involved in the commissioning, provision and scrutiny of care services and
  • Make reports and recommendations about how those services could or should be improved.
  • Represent the views of the whole community, patients and service users on Health and Well-being Boards.

2.4It is expected that the tender will be awarded to a social enterprise with a track record of establishing and supporting a new organisation. This would not exclude other types of organisations from bidding, but they will need to demonstrate that the Local HealthWatch will be delivered through a social enterprise, potentially established for that purpose.


3.1The three Council’s have a shared visionfor what the Local HealthWatch should be:

“Local HealthWatch will be the independent consumer champion for patients and users of health and social care services.

Local HealthWatch will be membership based and aim to empower and represent the diverse communities in the three boroughs. It will provide intelligence - including evidence from people's views and experiences - to influence the policy, planning, commissioning and delivery of publicly-funded health and social care.

It will also provide information and advice to help people access and make choices about services as well as signposting to independent complaints advocacy services to support people if they need help to complain about NHS services.

Local HealthWatch will have a reputation for being be a robust and credible player in the local health and social care economy by demonstrating that it has the appropriate level of skills, experience and competencies required to deliver its statutory functions to the highest possible level. It will gain the trust of the general public as well as other health and social care stakeholder groups by being responsive and acting on concerns when things go wrong.

It will operate effectively and efficiently so that the councils can demonstrate value for money against agreed outcomes.

The service will be provided across the three boroughs but witharrangements in each borough to ensure that the service is locally accountable and independently reflects local views and concerns.”

4.Key Attributes

4.1The successful tender will demonstrate experience and a track record in delivering community engagement, advice and information services highlighting how they have promoted the following key attributes and how they intend to develop them locally through HealthWatch:

Independence - a free-standing body which is respected for its independence and trusted by residents and stakeholders alike.

Clearly recognised – a body with a clear identity which is strong and distinctive from existing local organisations. It will embrace and utilise the Local HealthWatch brand developed at national level.

User-focused – relentlessly championing the voice of the user in the health and social care system

Inclusive – an organisation which finds ways to work with the many different patient and service user representative groups across very diverse populations with significant health inequalities which span the two local authority areas.

Well-connected – able to signpost people to good quality information to help them make choices about health and social care; with access to established networks to gather comprehensive patient views.

Evidence based – a body which uses evidence to underpin its priorities and target its efforts

Technically competent – an organisation that can demonstrate the relevant skills and competencies required to deliver its functions

Influential – able to make an impact on the local commissioning of health and social care to both adults and children ; complement other inspection regimes; and support patients and residents with signposting to information about the quality of local health services

Flexible – an organisation which can work in partnership with key decision-makers (including the local authority, Clinical Commissioning Groups and other bodies at strategic level) while still being able to listen to individual patient concerns, represent them effectively, and challenge those same decision-making bodies when necessary.

Self-aware – an organisation which actively seeks feedback on its own performance and critically assesses its strengths and weaknesses.

Accountable – working to a clear set of standards against which the local authority and the residents it serves can appreciate its success.

Good value for money – an organisation that makes the best use of its resources byseeking to avoid duplication with other bodies in the local authority area, and where possible, working creatively with them to deliver the most cost effective solutions to achieve its chosen priorities.

5.Who is Local HealthWatch for?

5.1Local HealthWatch is for adults and children who are legally entitled to access health or adult social care services in Kensington and Chelsea, Hammersmith and Fulham, [and City of Westminster] or anyone who cares for or represents anyone who has access to health or social care services in the boroughs.

5.2HealthWatch has a duty to assist local health and social care commissioners and providers, and other community stakeholders, by providing feedback, research, and information on local people’s views and experiences of health and social care, to improve services.

5.3The Councils expect the HealthWatch model to be membership based, with a significant input from the membership in developing the strategic direction and priorities of the organisation.

6.Access to the Service

6.1Local HealthWatch will be accessible to all, residents and the successful tender will have a track record in actively seeking the views and experiences of local people, including ‘seldom heard’ groups (e.g. BME groups, people with disabilities, LGBT, etc) using a variety of media, including but not limited to:

  • Website and other Digital/Online Services (including access to surveys)
  • Telephone (including out of hours contact)
  • Office Accommodation
  • Community Outreach Services
  • Mail Address (including a freepost facility where necessary)
  • Local HealthWatch will make full use of existing and well-established information and support systems and networks
  • Mobilising their membership
  1. Service Delivery/Functions

7.1To gather views and understanding the experiences of patients and the public Local HealthWatch will:

  • Ensure systematic and ongoing engagement with all sections of the local population, so that a wide cross-section of views are represented in respect of local health and social care, including membership subgroups and patient fora.
  • Seek the community’s views about the current provision of health and social care (including use of high quality research) and use this to identify the need for changes or additions to services.
  • Demonstrate an ability to analyse and channel high quality user feedback and public views on services to relevant commissioners so that they can inform the whole commissioning cycle

7.2In making people’s views known Local HealthWatch will:

  • Communicate the local community’s (including children) diversity of views, to health and social care commissioners in a credible and accessible fashion.
  • Demonstrate impact by agreeing plans for implementation and monitoring progress and managing performance.

7.3By promoting and supporting the involvement of people in the commissioning and provision of local care services and how they are scrutinised Local HealthWatch will:

  • Give input to new or proposed services in all stages of the commissioning cycle for both adults an children (e.g. through patient reference groups or board representation).
  • Use the broad range of stakeholder engagement techniques to maximise opportunities for local people to have their say, including where appropriate patient representation on the governance of bodies of health and social care organisations.
  • Exercise their enter and view powers judiciously by working collaboratively with other inspection regimes

7.4In recommending investigation or special review of services via HealthWatch England or directly to the Care Quality Commission (CQC) Local HealthWatch will:

  • Continuously evaluate existing health and social care services, making recommendations for special reviews or investigations to the Care Quality Commission through HealthWatch England based on robust local intelligence.

7.5By providing advice and information (signposting) about access to services and support for making informed choices local HealthWatch will:

  • Influence or provide advice and information (signposting) services to ensure that all sections of the local population have access to good quality impartial advice and advocacy relating to health and social care services available to them.
  • Establish and maintain a database of existing local networks and support systems.
  • Working collaboratively with other information providers.

7.6By making the diversity of views and experiences of people known to HealthWatch England (and to other local HealthWatch organisations) and providing a steer to help it carry out its role as national champion Local HealthWatch will:

  • Ensure local intelligence gathering systems complement those established by HealthWatch England

7.8Local HealthWatch will provide information and advice to help adults and children access and make choices about health and social care services. The experience individuals should expect from this service will be:

  • Signposting to local, evidence based information
  • Signposting information available in a format/language to meet their needs
  • Information available through a range of mediums e.g. leaflets, electronic, telephone
  • A service which is easy to find and access
  • Communication about general health and social care information through local networks
  • Support and promotion of local public health information and awareness raising activities

7.9An Independent Complaints Advocacy Service (ICAS) will be commissioned separately from this service, however, close liaison will be required between the Local HealthWatch and the ICAS provider. Two [three} councils are commissioning this service as par of a Pan-London exercise being led by London Borough of Hounslow.

  1. Accountabilities

8.1Local HealthWatch will be accountable to its members, local service users and resident taxpayers in the local authority area and the commissioning local authority in terms of value for money and HealthWatch England in terms of quality standards.

8.2The Councils will be looking for the provider to develop innovative tools to ensure accountability and should include, but are not limited to:

  • an annual meeting, open and accessible to local stakeholders/ members
  • an annual report, audited accounts available for public inspection
  • electronic and social media

8.3Contract and performance management will be undertaken by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea on behalf of London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham [and City of Westminster.]


9.1Local HealthWatch will work closely with the commissioning local authorities, which will support HealthWatch in its role to:

  • Represent local people through its role on the local Health and Wellbeing Board
  • Work closely with the national body, HealthWatch England, and the two will work together to deliver a strong public voice.
  • Foster a broad range of relationships with local health and social care commissioners (using models demonstrated as being effective) and with provider agencies in the NHS, voluntary, community and private sectors (including hospitals).
  • Nurture partnerships with local service-user groups (and existing voluntary and community sector networks) and other LHWs to ensure high quality feedback and research.


10.1Local HealthWatch will make a positive contribution to the successful local achievement of outcomes set out in national frameworks for the NHS, primary care, adult social care and public health. Particular attention will be paid to:

  • Local HealthWatch can demonstrate their contribution to improved patient and user experience.
  • Improved communication and engagement: Local people recognise Local HealthWatch as an effective champion for their interests regarding health and social care services
  • HealthWatch is recognised by the community as being an important (but not the only) means of achieving greater patient and public involvement in health and social care.
  • HealthWatch is respected and trusted by commissioners and appropriate boards and as an independent means of engaging with local .
  • HealthWatch is recognised as an important agent for improving access to services.
  • Local people have an improved understanding of their rights (consumer champion) and responsibilities and HealthWatch is credited as being an important source of information and knowledge.
  • High public awareness/profile of HealthWatch.
  • Strong reputation of HealthWatch with the public.

10.2Some members of the Local Involvement Networks have expressed an aspiration to form a body corporate to become Local HealthWatches in the fullness of time. This has proved unachievable within current statutory timeframes, however, the provider would be expected to support local residents in taking forward these ambitions, if appropriate, and in consultation with the Councils.


11.1Each of the three Councils will determine the resource allocation fro the Local HealthWatch in their locality to that their statutory obligations are met in line with guidelines from the Department of Health.

11.2Financial management arrangements will need to ensure that separate accounts are kept for the individual authorities and shared resources apportioned appropriately.


12.1The Local HealthWatch will require robust governance and management structures to fulfil its responsibilities to:

  • Local service users and resident individuals in the local authority area
  • The commissioning local authority in terms of value for money
  • HealthWatch England in terms of quality standards

12.2Governance arrangements will need to both reflect the joint arrangements between the London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea [and City of Westminster]. The legislation requires that each Borough will have a HealthWatch and the joint bi [tri] borough model will need to reflect that by ensuring that distinct arrangements are put in place for the three boroughs which enable local residents to shape and steer the service to reflect local issues.

12.3Arrangements which enable co-ordination and operational management across the three boroughs to maximise value for money should also be considered.

12.4Governance arrangements will need to include appropriate policies on:

  • appointments which demonstrate independence and are transparent
  • standards of behaviour in public life which reflect the Nolan Principles (including conflicts of interest)
  • equalities and diversity
  • dispute resolution
  • relationships and contact with the media.
  • [others]

12.5The successful tenderer will demonstrate how it will deliver the following support for the HealthWatch:

  • Adequate training and support for members, including representatives on the Health & Well-being Boards
  • Legal advice
  • Insurance for volunteers and committee members and public liability.
  • Press and media support
  1. Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (TUPE)

13.1 [Insert paragraph]