Health and social care - Planning with People: community engagement and participation guidance - updated 2024

Planning with People sets out the responsibilities NHS boards, local authorities and Integration Joint Boards have to community engagement when health and social care services are being planned, or when changes to services are being considered and supports them to involve people meaningfully.

Planning with People – Joint Foreword

Scotland's national and local governments are committed to involving people and communities in the decision-making that affects them. Nowhere is that more vital than in the development of the health and social care services, which we all rely on.

Listening to the views of people who use services, and involving them throughout the process of planning care delivery, is a key improvement recommendation of the Independent Review of Adult Social Care in Scotland.

Planning with People has been updated to take into consideration the current challenges being faced by NHS Boards and ensure that all parties are clear on respective roles, responsibilities and processes and reinforce the statutory duties for engagement regardless of financial pressures.

By working together with people and communities, care providers can transform the experience of people who use services, as well as the experience of those who deliver them. Planning with People will help us to achieve that widely and with consistency.

During the pandemic, many new and different ways of working were developed to support the continued delivery of critical services, and Boards and their planning partners continue to develop their strategic plans to renew local services. We want to build on these new and different ways of delivering health and care to ensure that more individuals receive person centred care in the right place, at the right time. As our recovery from the pandemic gathers momentum, the duty to involve people is as important as ever to guarantee delivery of high quality care. This guidance will ensure that the necessary, proportionate public engagement that informs proposals for change is as robust and efficient as practicable.

Planning with People promotes real collaboration between NHS Boards, Integration Joint Boards and Local Authorities. It sets out the responsibilities each organisation has to community engagement when services are being planned, or changes to services are being considered, and supports them to involve people meaningfully.

Fundamentally, good engagement is essential to good service planning. And there is no doubt that greater participation brings better outcomes for communities all round.

We encourage everyone in Scotland to get involved in shaping the care services they receive. Ultimately, it is their experience that will be the real measure of what impact it is making.


Neil Gray MSP, Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care

Councillor Paul Kelly, Health and Social Care Spokesperson, COSLA



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