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

This has been superseded by the May 2024 guidance.

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 taking account of recommendations and feedback from people working in and using health and social care services, community and equality groups, and the third sector. We would like to thank everyone who took part in the review for their time and input.

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. 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.

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.


Michael Matheson MSP, Cabinet Secretary for NHS Recovery, Health and Social Care

Councillor Paul Kelly, Health and Social Care Spokesperson, COSLA



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