At Healthwatch England we work to support almost 6,000 Healthwatch staff and volunteers.
We provide a range of support for our network of 152 local Healthwatch to help them do this, including a strong online community, so that our colleagues can share experiences and learn from one another, for the benefit of people in their local areas.
Providing a high quality service to the public, enabling you to share your views of health and social care, and seek advice and information about local services, is a core element of our five year strategy. Technology is a vital part of making this happen, as we explore better ways to connect Healthwatch with one another, and with their communities.
Resources are limited throughout the Healthwatch network, so we need to provide a quick and easy way for people to ask each other questions, keep up to date with news, and collaborate with one another. By working together in this way we can ensure that the Healthwatch network has the strongest possible voice in every part of the country.
Healthwatch staff often want to talk to people who are in similar roles, or working on similar issues, or who are located nearby. We need a cost effective way of enabling these connections to happen.
We’re therefore launching our new online community using Workplace by Facebook, a platform used by a range of organisations, including large charities and federated organisations, to help improve communication and collaboration between employees and volunteers.
Although Workplace is a separate product to Facebook, it looks and feels similar. Feedback from our network suggests that this will help people feel comfortable with it and encourage frequent use. There are also apps available for download, helping people who spend a lot of time out in their communities to stay in touch.
During our Workplace pilot we’ve already seen the benefits of its added facilities, such as video calling and group chats, which will give our community new ways to connect with one another. We will continue to share people's views and experiences that they tell us through a separate, secure database.
We’re a few weeks away from rolling out Workplace to our whole network. We’re excited to see how it will help us work better together, and in turn to provide an improved Healthwatch service to you.