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How we listened to you 2016/17

There are many ways we gather feedback from people who use our services, their families, carers and partner organisations. These include engagement with different audiences, through surveys, in partnership with our Experts by Experience and Healthwatch feedback.


To respond to the increasing need for care and changes in the law (introduction of the Care Act 2014), our Adult Care & Support function needed to change. We launched an Advancing Adult Social Care programme in 2016 and as part of this, we engaged with a variety of people including people who use services, carers, partner organisations and Experts by Experience to gain their views on services. This helped shaped our new operating structure which came into effect on 10 April 2017. This new way of working is designed to ensure our services support adults with care and support needs in the most effective way.

We developed a Carers Strategy (2014-17) in partnership with carers in 2014, which continues to be monitored by the Carers Partnership Board. The Board includes representatives from the Council, Health, Social Care, the DWP, the Carers Centre, and a group of carers including young carers. Working together the Board tries to find ways to support all carers in their role. Consideration is now being given to the new strategy, which will start later in 2017. 

Adult Care & Support Survey

Each year local authorities run a statutory survey on behalf of the Department of Health, which is distributed to people who use social care services. The survey uses national criteria to give an overall average quality of life score. This is based on responses to eight questions asking people to select one from a number of statements that best describes how well their needs are being met in relation to:

  • How much control they have over daily life
  • Keeping clean and presentable in appearance
  • Food and drink
  • How clean and comfortable is their home/care home
  • How safe they feel
  • Contact with people
  • How they spend their time
  • The way they are helped and treated and how this makes them think and feel about themselves

Carers Survey

Every two years we carry out a Carers Survey on behalf of the Department of Health. The survey is distributed to carers aged 18 and over who are caring for someone aged 18 or over.  The survey is designed to capture carers’ thoughts, opinions and feelings on a number of topics thought to be integral to helping them achieve a balanced life alongside their caring role. The survey seeks to:

  • Assess whether services received by carers are helping them in their caring role and their life outside of caring
  • Assess carers’ perceptions of services provided to the person being cared for


Healthwatch is the local consumer champion for patients, people who use services and the public. It includes all health and social care services, including those for children. During 2016-17 Healthwatch was based at The Core in Solihull, and was delivered by a partnership of local voluntary and community groups led by Solihull Sustain.

Healthwatch engages with local people to identify both good and bad experiences of using health and social care. It sets local priorities for further investigation. During 2016-17 Healthwatch priorities included mental health services and making appointments with GPs.

During the year, 200 people took part in a public consultation about future arrangements for Healthwatch.  This input, alongside the findings from the Council’s gathering of evidence helped shape the commissioning of a new Healthwatch service.

711 people expressed their views to Healthwatch at community events and via specific subject-based surveys during 2016/17. These views covered a range of subjects including hospital services, GP services and mental health services.

Over the year Healthwatch has added an independent voice to discussions about key areas of health and social care, and will continue to engage with local people to identify topics for investigation and research.

Find out more about Healthwatch.

Experts by Experience

Experts by Experience (EbE) – Solihull CIC is a non-profit organisation made up of people who use services and carers. During 2016/17 they have been involved in the following activities with and on behalf of the council:

Listening opportunityWhat we didWhat happened as a result
Training and developing the workforce Personalisation trainingDelivered sessions to Council staff
Co-production event (May 2016) Shared a presentation of how groups and individuals can work together to support services for those with care and support needs Joined up thinking and building community capacity and resilience; reassuring carers and people who use services who attended that their voices would/could be heard
Assessment and Review questionnaire with focus groups at local day centres (June 2016)To gather feedback from the most vulnerable about their perceptions and understanding of these processes using a pre-prepared questionnaire Feedback to Adult Care & Support; established that style of questionnaire not accessible to this group and non-verbal adults; people wanted to be ‘in control’ and/or partners in their care decisions and mostly were not. Sometimes due to family/carers taking over; sometimes because ‘things went on as if they weren’t there’
Writing assessments in the first or third person (July 2016) Supported social workers with reviewing how assessment paperwork was worded to maximise the individual’s voice and understanding. This included addressing people with no verbal communication.Recommendations made by Experts were adopted.
On-line assessments (July 2016)Trialing the assessment for accessibility and content. Adjustments suggested were accepted/ Independent Expert with no knowledge then asked to test out as if seeking an assessment.
AASC stakeholder workstreamTo coproduce a Project Implementation Document for all areas of ASC to incorporate user/public voice into their services.Action plan produced.
Safeguarding Adults Board (ongoing)Provide the voice of the person using services/carer. Able to say what the public know of safeguarding, hate crime etc.Any feedback is well received and Experts made to feel welcome and part of the group.
Reablement Supported the delivery of training and familiarisation through the sharing of my personal experience.'I got to speak to a number of people who work in care industry either carers or managers who were training to be part of the reablement team. I helped deliver a prepared question and answer session with a social worker about management of risk and personalising risk assessments.
I was able to use my own experiences to highlight the importance of service users making their own choices and managing their own lives.’
Care at Home tender process (Dec 2016)Reading and assessing tender documents; interviewing applicants.Full involvement and follow up.
Celebrating carers and their work (March/April 2017) Celebrating the variety of care available within the borough: Experts were involved in planning and delivering this event.A demonstration of effective support from and between agencies within the care system. A valuable opportunity to recognise best practice.
Peer Reviews in partnership with the Council The ‘Experts’ voice and perspective providing another dimension to the evaluation of services of other Councils. A steep learning curve but a valuable and necessary one.
‘As an expert, I was treated with a lot of respect and felt my opinions were listened to.’
Older persons’ PA and Direct payments (July 2017) Exploring this notion for older people and planning events to promote and explain how Direct Payments work. Ongoing.
Local Account Coproducing the online document to better communicate performance and public involvement.