Facilitating Collaborative Working

Close collaboration is crucial to successful immunisation programmes because of the dispersion of responsibilities and accountability across different organisations. Directors of Public Health, for example, are required to gain assurance of services for which they do not automatically have the full data and do not directly commission or deliver. This means it is vital for Health Protection Board meetings, for example, to include the key stakeholders who are in a position to drive operational improvements including representatives from the CCG/ ICS and Screening and Immunisation Team. By the same token, commissioners and providers need to be able to draw upon the Local Authority’s deep understanding of the local community in order to reach areas with lower uptake rates. 

Guide to arranging a collaborative event on immunisation coverage 

Why do it? 

  • At the beginning of this toolkit, we outlined the statutory roles and responsibilities within the immunisation system. But it is important to note that many other organisations and individuals have a part to play in improving coverage rates and addressing inequalities. A collaborative workshop is an opportunity to bring together the lesser-heard voices alongside statutory organisations within the system to learn from each other and identify opportunities to work together.  
  • Think about the purpose of the event and the outcomes you want to achieve. Is there a particular problem you want to address, a specific vaccination programme or aspect of the routine immunisation schedule for which you would like to improve uptake, or a group within the community whose access to, and confidence in, vaccinations you would like to support? Or is your aim to establish more collaborative relationships between different organisations involved in local immunisation services? 
  • Identify all the relevant stakeholders that need to be involved in the event to ensure you are able to meet your objectives. It is important that you engage the Screening and Immunisation Team with responsibility for your area and, if possible, host the event in partnership with them. Think creatively and broadly about organisations and individuals who play a part in commissioning, delivering, promoting, or evaluating immunisation services, and those which support at-risk or underserved groups. Try to include a range of perspectives, and those who work directly with patients as well as those in managerial or leadership roles.  Depending on the aim of the event, you might consider inviting representatives from the following in your area: 
    • Health Protection Forum 
    • Health Scrutiny Committee 
    • NHS Screening & Immunisation Team 
    • Adult Social Care Team 
    • Child’s Social Care Team 
    • Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Team in the Council or in a local NHS Trust 
    • Primary Care Network 
    • Clinical Commissioning Group/ Integrated Care System 
    • Midwifery Services 
    • NHS Infection Prevention and Control Teams  
    • Patient and Public Involvement Groups 
    • Health Visiting Team 
    • School Immunisation Team 
    • Local Pharmaceutical Committee 
    • Local Medical Committee 
    • Healthwatch 
    • Paediatric Services 
    • Gypsy and Traveller Team 
    • A Housing Association 
    • Homelessness Service 
    • Substance Misuse Service 
  • VCSEs working with the elderly, carers and inclusion health groups such as people experiencing homelessness, vulnerable migrants, and people with learning disabilities 
  • Prepare an agenda for the workshop (below is a template based on the events we held with the councils for Cheshire West and Chester and Birmingham). Initial inputs to set the context of the meeting can help inform and focus the discussions which follow. As well as giving your own presentation, you might want to invite a representative from another organisation, either local or national, to give their perspective.  
  • When you invite attendees, be clear about why you are holding the event, what the value of it will be, and the logistics. Including an agenda, or at least the topics of presentations or discussions in the workshop, can help attendees understand the purpose and nature of the event. 
  • Have structured time for discussions where participants are able to bring their different perspectives to a set of prompt questions. If you have more than 10 people attending, you might want to break into smaller groups for times of discussion, and then have quick feedback sessions after each one, so that all attendees know what has been discussed as part of the event.  
  • As you facilitate the discussions, try to keep a focus on what actions can be taken and by whom. This will be important for drawing up a plan afterwards. 
  • Take notes throughout the event and, if participants give their permission, record and then transcribe the discussion 
  • Write up the main themes of the event and draw out a series of recommendations for commissioning and delivering immunisation services in the future. Share this report and a summary action plan with the participants at the workshop and any other stakeholders who can help you achieve your objectives.  
  • Arrange a follow-up meeting with those who will be responsible for taking forward the actions which emerged from the workshop to draw up a more detailed project plan and timescales. Be sure to check on progress on a regular basis, offer support wherever appropriate, and evaluate the impact of your efforts.