Our Priorities

About Healthwatch Devon

Healthwatch Devon is the independent health and social care consumer champion for the Devon area. There is a separate local Healthwatch in Plymouth and Torbay.

We listen to what people like about health and social care services and what could be improved and then share their views with those with the power to make or change decisions.

Since Healthwatch Devon was introduced in 2013, thousands of people have shared their views and experiences with us in relation to their local health and social care services.

Our business priorities

The Forward View sets out our business priorities for the next two years building on our core activity to enable as many people as possible to have their say in shaping their health and care services.

Download a full copy of Forward View 2018-2020 here

Our work is largely informed by our contract with Devon County Council and the six functions we are commissioned to provide: gathering views and experience, making those views known, our involvement with commissioners and scrutinising local services, making recommendations to Healthwatch England and the CQC and providing advice and information. In addition we undertake independent research and commissioned pieces of work.

Over the next two years we have ambitious plans to significantly expand our engagement activity so that more people can share their views and experience of services; continue to build our evidence and research base and develop better ways to share information with commissioners and service providers. We will work with key partners who can help us expand our reach and build our relationship with Torbay and Plymouth Healthwatch to ensure Devon-wide coverage. Finally we will strengthen our governance ensuring a strong board and a sustainable organisation providing high quality services.

Our mission 

To gather, publicise and escalate views about people’s experience of health & social care services in Devon, in order to inform and improve the access to and experience of health and social care.



We work with other groups, seeking a stronger voice, together.


We listen to people and represent their views and interests to services.


We will ask commissioners and service providers to show how they have acted on the evidence we have given them.


Our starting point is the person with health and social care needs.  We have a particular responsibility for championing the needs of unheard voices.


We cannot do everything, everywhere, all the time. We will explain how we define our priorities.


Our work will be high quality and open to scrutiny.


The world is changing

Devon’s health and care services are changing to meet the needs of a growing and ageing population.  The Sustainability and Transformation Partnership (STP) aims to join up health services (NHS), care services and public health (local authority), and local community services (voluntary sector).  There is an emphasis on “home not hospital”, and on promoting health and wellbeing, as opposed to simply curing sickness.  The STP promises that all of this will bring improved people experiences of health and social care.  Our job is to identify whether that actually happens.

Healthwatch is changing too. Our umbrella organisation, Healthwatch England (HWE) aims to achieve 3 goals by 2023: to support more than a million people every year to share their views or find the information they need; by 2023, HWE aims to be able to tell anyone who shares their views with us how this has made a difference; HWE wants to ensure people’s views will help improve health and care services and aim to double the number of our recommendations implemented by services by 2023.

Healthwatch Devon needs to keep up

The STP wants to join up health and care services.  That means that our work needs to be more joined up.  There are three local Healthwatch in Devon, plus a whole series of patient experience and patient/public engagement teams in Trusts, CCG’s and local authorities.  We need, between us, to get better at co-ordinating all the activity.

People and service user feedback comes from CQC inspections, the NHS Friends and Family Test, NHS Choices, Patient and Care Opinion feedback, Healthwatch reports, PALS complaints and compliments, and local surveys and focus groups.  Every source presents its data differently.  We need to get better at gathering and analysing the evidence on people experience.

We now have five years’ worth of evidence within the Healthwatch Devon CIVI database.  We will get better at sharing it.


Our organisational vision is what we want to see.  It is different from our mission, which is what we want to do.  Our vision statement describes the ideal world that we want to see in 3-5 years’ time.  It is that:

“Everyone, everywhere, has the information they need about the health and social care experience in Devon which is used to choose, deliver, plan and monitor high quality services”


Commissioners, providers, public, academics, policy makers and more.

Anyone who wants information on people’s experience of health and social care in Devon should be able to ask us.  If we don’t hold it ourselves, we should be able to tell them who does hold it.


Some information might be instantly and freely available.  Sometimes we may need to work with an enquirer (e.g an NHS Trust) to plan surveys etc that will give them the information they need.  For some work, we may need to charge a fee.


Our information should be available to people in Devon, but also to relatives of Devon service users, who may live further away and to other local Healthwatch who may want to know what we are doing.

Also, to researchers who may be based in the UK or overseas.

In Devon

This will generally mean the area of Devon outside Torbay and Plymouth.  However, we aim to work more closely with Healthwatch Torbay and Healthwatch Plymouth to create a seamless information service for the whole of Devon.

Choose, deliver, plan and monitor quality services

Clear information will mean that people can choose quality services; providers can deliver quality services; and commissioners and regulators can involve people in shaping health and care services that meet the needs of people both for the present and the future.


The main things that we need to do over the next 3-5 years are:

1) build new partnerships 

Develop new partnerships to improve reach and increase data sharing.

We will work very closely with a small number of core partners (p.1), treating them not just as suppliers, but as strategic partners with whom we can scope and exploit development opportunities.

We will develop a wide network of Healthwatch Hubs in order to build connections with local communities. These relationships will allow us to both share information and receive feedback on Hot Topics and Consumer Champion Projects which will feed into our reporting.

We will seek closer joint working with Healthwatch Torbay and Healthwatch Plymouth, to achieve more seamless Devon-wide services.

2) reach more people 

Achieve better reach to urban communities, rural communities, online communities and unheard voices.

Urban and rural communities

We will reach more people in rural and urban areas by working with Citizens Advice through their network in Exeter and Devon’s market towns, and with Devon Communities Together in the county’s villages and hamlets.

We will widen our summer events programme to a year round effort to strengthen community engagement, including the launch of HWD Hubs in collaboration with established and new local community organisations.

Online communities 

We will ensure the continual promotion and maintenance of the most effective communication processes and practices, tailored to meet the specific requirements of our partners, stakeholders and people in Devon.

Unheard voices

We will reach more unheard voices by encouraging specialist organisations such as Hikmat, Proud2Be etc to join our network of Healthwatch Hubs.

We aim to have at least 10 of these specialist organisations signed up and regularly feeding into Healthwatch Devon’s work.

3) better evidence of people’s experience

Build the biggest and best evidence base of people’s experience of services in Devon.

Information management

Work with Healthwatch England to upgrade CIVI database with the ambition to be – working with Healthwatch Plymouth and Torbay – the largest and best evidence base in Devon on people’s experiences of health and social care.

Information sharing 

We will continue to join up and grow both our own evidence on people’s experience with information on health and care enquiries received by CAB.

Information quality

Develop a process to quality assure our data collection and reporting and ensure we fully adhere to GDPR requirements.

4) better use of evidence

Improve the use of the data by commissioners, service providers, consumers and others – especially for improving service quality and managing risk.


We will work with the Devon Clinical Commissioning Group and Devon County Council to provide people experience information in support of health and wellbeing strategies and the commissioning cycle.

Devon Health and Wellbeing Scrutiny Committee

We will work with the scrutiny committee to highlight people experience trends and areas of concern or good practice, looking for joint areas of work within the Scrutiny work programme.

Care Quality Commission 

We will work with the inspector and regulator of health and social care to liaise and provide data and relevant reports for input into their local inspection work, national campaigns and advisory meetings.

Sustainability & Transformation Partnership (STP)

Local health services are changing, and it’s the people of Devon’s right to be involved through public consultation.

HWD are represented at certain STP meetings so that we can keep people informed on developments and when there are opportunities to get involved.


We will provide concise and accessible information based on people’s views and responses from service providers, which will assist people’s choice.

Healthwatch England (HWE)

We will work with HWE to liaise and provide data and relevant reports for input into their workstreams, regional network meetings and their national campaigns and conferences.


We will work with providers to ensure that Boards and staff teams get the information they need to support quality improvement and risk management.

5) more feedback generated

Encourage continuing feedback by showing that the evidence we collect is listened to and has a positive impact on shaping services.

We will ask commissioners and providers to give us six-monthly reports on how they have used our evidence to help with planning and strategy, service improvement and risk management.

We will show how the evidence has been used in our newsletters and on our website and will use our communications to generate further feedback.

6) providing information and signposting

Give information and offer support about services, and signpost to other support services so people can make informed choices.

We will provide advice and information about access to services to allow people to make informed choices.

We will signpost people to organisations that will provide further support to people who need advocacy or help to make a complaint about health and social care services.

Download a full copy of Forward View 2018-2020 here