Feeling valued begins at the start of any connection. From the first email, to providing information and meeting in person, consumers gain a sense of what is required of them. It helps to set expectations of the role and how the role fits in the overall strategy of an organisation. To feel included as part of a team can convey a sense of responsibility.
When consumers participate in projects at the Consumer-led, Partnership and likely the Involving and Consulting levels - as outlined in the model of consumer engagement - an organisation should provide appropriate support and guidance for consumers to contribute successfully.
An introduction pack is one way to start the engagement. A standard pack could include an introduction letter with relevant links, contact details of key people and an overview of the organisation or project. Other components may be added such as forms to manage aspects of organisational integrity and duty of care in case of an emergency.
Introduction Pack contents
An introduction to the organisation, key contact people and overview of the role and project. Key contacts can include the Team Leader, Project Manager and Consumer Engagement Manager.
Terms of Reference (for steering or advisory committees)
Provides clarity on roles and responsibilities, meeting frequency and conduct.
Specific content related to the project including background, goals and aims.
Contact details of a nominated family member/friend should an emergency occur on site.
Conflict of interest
To ensure no conflicts in relation to participation consumers may have with other organisations.
Ensuring patient and sensitive organisation information is protected.
Consumer Role Description
Helps consumers understand the scope of participation and the expectation of the role.
Provides considerations before committing and ways to be supported in active participation once appointed.
Expense claim form
Facilitates the process of claiming travel, parking and other out-of-pocket expenses.
Explains if and how the organisation will provide respectful recompense for work undertaken and how this will be tracked, approved and paid.