Aha! Consulting was engaged by the WA Department of Health to deliver a new WA Chronic Conditions Outcomes Framework. The purpose of this framework is to help guide prevention, early intervention and management of chronic conditions in Western Australia.
The team at WA Department of Health was keen to incorporate a robust community engagement process to inform the framework with input from a broad range of stakeholders, including people with lived experience.
In this case study, we'll explain how we incorporated three complementary streams of engagement: a deliberative panel, broader consultation and targeted consultation with key stakeholders.
The engagement process
The deliberative panel was made up of 41 people, recruited through an expression of interest process, stratified against key criteria, and promoted through health and broader networks. The panel consisted of representatives of people with lived experience, government and non-government providers, also ensuring there was a range of cultural, geographic and clinical perspectives.
The panel met for three full days across the course of the project, supported by a closed online portal to communicate in between sessions. They set the vision for the framework, reviewed iterations of the draft framework and provided recommendations on the nature and content of the document and helped shape the focus of the broader consultation.
Broader consultation was achieved through an online survey and four online workshops, engaging more than 100 people from around Western Australia to provide feedback and input to the draft framework.
To help make necessary refinements towards the tail end of the drafting of the new framework, targeted consultation was undertaken one-on-one and online with small groups of key stakeholders across the WA health system (and across the state) to ensure we had adequately covered the priority populations and explored options for measuring the effectiveness of the framework.
This community engagement process was a little different to other panels we have delivered, in that we had a more specific stakeholder group to involve. This meant that the recruitment was slightly different (we’d usually recruit a random sample), however it ensured we had a good balance in the room with health providers, policy makers, carers and people with lived experience.
We love what we do and value the opportunity to learn more as we go. As with all panels we conduct, we evaluated the process with input from the panellists. This helps us provide feedback to the client, but also informs our practice into the future. Suggestions from our panellists included how to fine-tune the process and extend the diversity of the group. And as we always hear, some found the days a bit long, while some felt they needed more time.
Another take home from this project was the challenges around writing style and language. We wanted to deliver a document that a lay person could digest, while needing to ‘speak to’ those working in the system. This led to a desire for some of our panellists to focus on ‘wordsmithing’ – you could do this forever and still not satisfy everyone! We find this is an ongoing challenge for those developing strategy or policy documents, particularly in a government setting.
At the end of this project, we presented WA Health with a completed draft Chronic Conditions Outcomes Framework, shaped and informed by this extensive period of consultation. The framework is now with the Department to refine and finalise.
Through this process, WA Health were able to gain rich insights from varying levels of government and community to shape and refine the direction of the framework, notably from those with lived experience.