Social Prescribing – Engagement

Lead: Citywide

Period: 8th May 2018 - 15th Jun 2018

Social prescribing is a way of enabling health professionals to refer patients with social, emotional or practical needs to a range of local, non-medical services.

Brief summary of the project

In Leeds, the social prescribing services are delivered by three different schemes commissioned by the former three NHS CCGs. As one NHS Leeds CCG we intend to commission a single citywide social prescribing service model once the current contracts come to an end in August 2019.

The aim of the engagement is to understand people’s experiences of using the social prescribing services in Leeds and the views of the public and wider stakeholders, in order to commission a service that meets the needs of local people.

Who did we speak to?

603 people took part in our survey.

We spoke to current and past service users, members of the public who haven’t heard of or used the service before, professionals working for a social prescribing service, GP practice staff and wider stakeholders (voluntary sector organisations, NHS organisations, local authority, etc.)

What and how did we ask?

We asked people about their thoughts and experiences of using social prescribing services in Leeds through:

  • A survey (available online and in a hard copy)
  • Public engagement events (Armley One Stop Centre, Reginald Centre Community Hub and Dewsbury Road Community Hub).
  • Online awareness raising (Twitter, emails, website)

What did people tell us?

85% of people who completed the survey told us that the service is beneficial.

In addition, people also told us that:

  • The future service needs to be accessible to all people in Leeds, especially those with disabilities, BME, and employed people.
  • Promoting the service widely and providing clear information is really important
  • Good relationships and communication between social prescribing providers and the voluntary sector is important
  • Long travelling distances, lack of transport and not being able to self-refer would make it more difficult to access the service.

What did we do?

The recommendations and feedback from this engagement have been shared with the commissioning manager who is working on the commissioning of the single social prescribing service. They have been working with CCG volunteers to help design and plan for this new single service. Below you can see how the commissioning manager has responded to each of the recommendations made in the report.

You said (Recommendations)

 We did (What did the commissioning team do?)

Information Ensure services are promoted with patients and professionals across the city, using appropriate and accessible literature. The information should include what services can provide and how they can be accessed.


  • Before the new contract starts the providers will need to engage with the public and key stakeholders to identify a name for the service that will be easily understood by the public.
  • A marketing and promotion exercise will be undertaken to identify where the service needs to be promoted (this will include areas such as job centres, one stop shops, food backs, hospitals, etc).
  • The provider is expected to produce a leaflet in line with the accessible information standard.
  • The use of technology to deliver and promote the service will also be expected.
Accessibility Location

Support service users by providing local services or services which are easy and safe to access by public transport


  • Social prescribing clinics will be provided in GP localities, working out of practices or locality hubs.
  • Based on the locality need the service could be co-located with other services if appropriate.
  • Home visits will be available for people who are housebound.
Opening times

Provide a service that is accessible outside traditional working hours

  • The service provider is expected to deliver a minimum 6 days per week service, this to include a weekend and early evening.
  • The weekend and out-of-hours operating times to be agreed with the GP locality and CCG according to the local population needs.

Enable people to self-refer into social prescribing services in a variety of ways, including online.

  • Self-referrals will be actively encouraged and supported.
  • The service will be expected to align with the developing Digital platforms for care delivery and explore innovative approaches to support increased referrals.
Communication and relationship with third sector

Be mindful of capacity and funding issues in the third sector and develop a service that creates strong relationships with the wider voluntary community and faith sector (VCFS)

  • We aim to continue to understand the service’s impact on the community and third sector groups;
  • The social prescribing wellbeing coordinators will also be expected to provide feedback on key reasons for referrals to identify local population need. Based on these needs we expect the service provider to support the development of self-sustaining community groups covering a range of activities representing people’s wishes;  e.g. singing, walking and gardening groups.
Quality of service Person-centred service

Maintain a person-centred service that works with people to support them with their health and wellbeing. This might mean providing a service that is mindful of patients long term support needs.

  • The service users will receive an assessment and support from Wellbeing Co-ordinator (WBC) to co-produce a personalised plan focused on what is most important to them. Links to community services and support will be made as jointly identified, as well as looking at non-service based solutions.
  • The service is expected to provide different levels of support. The level of support will be led by the person. Most often the WBC’s will work with people to provide holistic support over a 1- 3 month period/ or up 12 sessions
Build on good practice

Share the  feedback about existing social prescribing services with providers and build on existing good practice


Feedback was shared with the providing and has informed the new specification.

Equality of access- improving access and providing services for people with diverse needs Ensure that future services are accessible, especially to seldom heard groups such as people with a learning disability, BAME and LGBTQ communities. This might include:

  • Providing information and services in different languages.
  • Service users have access to a worker of the same sex when requested
  • Provide services that are accessible to people with disabilities including those with a learning disability.
The service provider is expected to:

  • deliver an accessible and culturally appropriate service;
  • deliver the service and health information in the main languages spoken within NHS Leeds CCG area and offer translators / language line  as appropriate to support people to access the service;
  • to meet the requirements of the Accessible Information Standard, which is of particular relevance to individuals who are blind, deaf, deafblind and/or who have a learning disability, although it will support anyone with information or communication needs including those relating to a disability, impairment or sensory loss, for example people who have aphasia or a mental health condition which affects their ability to communicate;
  • provide or offer training opportunities for Wellbeing Co-ordinators to be confident in working with diverse or more marginalised communities:  for example,  LGBT,  BAME,  and vulnerable populations including people with Learning Disabilities and Older People;  and increasing WBC knowledge on specific topic areas (e.g. housing, addiction, mental health);
  • produce an annual report on how the service has applied the requirements of the Equality Act 2010;
  • to explore appropriate scales where SWEMWB scale is not validated for  particular groups, for example – people with learning difficulties, dementia or communication difficulties;
  • to report on detailed demographic data on service users referred including migrant access;
  • to employ Wellbeing Co-ordinators with a knowledge and understanding of:
    • health inequalities and the wider determinants of health
    • diverse communities – models of vulnerability
    • local communities and new and emerging community cultures.

The service will also focus on supporting people living in areas of high deprivation as identified in the Index of Multiple Deprivation (IMD).

Please see below the engagement report which outlines the engagement in more detail and highlights the findings and recommendations.

We have recently published our ‘CCG Volunteer Social Prescribing report’ which outlines the involvement our CCG Volunteers have had in this project. The CCG Volunteers  involved have said that they feel ‘very involved in decision making‘ and that ‘patient feedback has been used well to shape the service.’ You can read the full report below.

If you have any questions about this engagement please contact Andra Szabo on or 0113 84 35470.


Assessment of Equality Impact and Engagement Report (1,629KB)

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CCG Volunteer – Social Prescribing Report (300KB)

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Equality Analysis and Engagement Plan (459KB)

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Social prescribing engagement questionnaire (164KB)

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Other useful information and links:

 Connect for Health Leeds South and East CCG Interim Report May 2017 (524KB)

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Understanding the effectiveness and mechanisms of a social prescribing service: a mixed method analysis (753KB)

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 Connect Well Leeds North CCG Social Prescribing Evaluation (575KB)

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 Patient Empowerment Project Leeds West CCG Final Report (2,024KB)

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 Patient Empowerment Project Leeds West CCG 1st Year Final Evaluation (1,138KB)

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 Appendix A – Common Outcomes Framework (220KB)

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