Those of you that took part in the toolkit consultations and/or have taken a sneak peek at the final MAX toolkit may now be wondering why the planning guide includes links to a number of stakeholder engagement strategies. Stakeholder engagement, after all, is more relevant to the kinds of people who run businesses and not local authority (LA) analysts associated with the adult social care (ASCS) and carers’ (PSS SACE) surveys.
Or is it?
Stakeholder engagements can benefit analysts
Our earlier findings have, in fact, shown as that engagements with survey stakeholders – in particular, potential ‘consumers’ of survey data such as managers and commissioners – at key stages of the survey process can help analysts in a number of ways. In particular, by helping them to:
- overcome reported challenges to collecting and using ASCS and PSS SACE data (e.g. identifying local information needs that can be fulfilled with survey data);
- implement strategies to enhance local relevance and value of survey data (e.g. add local questions); and
- conduct focused analysis.
To put it simply, stakeholder engagement can help analysts to streamline the survey process, maximise the use of existing resources, produce useful findings AND save valuable time. Perhaps, then, worth the extra time up front?
But that’s not all – LA decision-makers can benefit too!
If this isn’t enough to convince you of the potential value of stakeholder engagement strategies, our findings also showed us that LA decision-makers – also known as ‘potential consumers of ASCS and PSS SACE data’ – can also benefit. In particular, by helping to:
- produce findings that can inform local decision-making and performance improvements (e.g. service design and delivery, front-line practice); and, by doing so,
- avoid the unnecessary duplication of analysis (e.g. multiple people within the same organisation conducting the same analysis – which we did find evidence of); and
- minimise the need to conduct other local research and consultations.
So, what are you waiting for?!
The potential benefits of engaging with survey stakeholders within your organisation cannot be denied, but we suspect that some of you may still need a little convincing. Previous experiences and ongoing time-pressures are, after all, hard to ignore.
The tools and strategies included in the MAX toolkit have been purposefully selected to help you to overcome some of the more common engagement barriers and to make minor amendments, rather than major revisions, to your existing planning processes. These include promotional materials and short guides on identifying and engaging with potential stakeholders, and are selected to suit your overall objectives and the resources available to you.
And be assured, it is never too late to start engaging!
While we recommend that engagement strategies should, wherever possible, start early on in the survey process, our findings show that discussions with stakeholders during the analysis or reporting stages can also yield considerable benefits to you and your organisation (e.g. interpret analysis findings, identify local practices that can be shared and implemented elsewhere) and by doing so, help to convince stakeholders to engage with you more during the next round of surveys.
A little bit of time up front, it seems, may have a range of longer-term benefits so, go on, take a look at the MAX planning guide and see how stakeholder engagement may benefit you and your organisation.
Accessing the MAX toolkit
The MAX toolkit is free to use. Please email the MAX project team to find out more or to register.
Disclaimer: The research on which this blog is based is commissioned and funded by the Policy Research Programme in the Department of Health. The views expressed are not necessarily those of the Department.