Mutual Ventures

Case studies

Healthwatch – Engaging Communities Staffordshire


Mutual Ventures has supported the establishment and growth of a number of independent Local Healthwatch organisations, including the award winning Engaging Communities Staffordshire (ECS) and East Sussex Community Voice (ESCV). A lot of Local Healthwatches are hosted bylarger organisations and many are now looking achieve the same sort of independence that ECS and ESCV have had since day one.

ECS in Staffordshire was established under a heavy spotlight. The public inquiry into Mid-Stafford Hospital indicated that there was aserious disconnection in how local people provided feedback and how services responded. A subsequent public consultation showed clear interest for one independent organisation to be available to provide an easy way for people to give feedback and get their views heard. The Mutual Ventures team worked alongside PPI Solutions and with council staff, NHS staff and staff from local voluntary organisations to define ECS’s governance structure, service lines and financial model. We also managed the transitional activities needed to take the organisation through to its successful launch in April 2012.

The Mutual Ventures team have also worked with Local Healthwatches to help achieve long-term stability, which means assessing their organisational form and looking for income sources beyond their core Healthwatch contract.

Kate Waterhouse was Staffordshire’s Head of Customer Insight and Research at the time of the initial development of ECS: “The Mutual Ventures team gave the Engaging Communities Staffordshire project real focus and generated the momentum needed to ensure that the new organisation launched successfully. They have also played a key role in managing the wide range of stakeholder groups involved in setting up the organisation whilst making sure we remained true to the community values that are at the heart of ECS.”

Mutual Ventures Director, Andrew Laird commented:“Our work on Local Healthwatch has been really exciting and rewarding. A key element we have been able to help with is putting the organisations on a sustainable footing both in terms of their organisational form and also in planning to secure additional income streams.”