What is the LINk?
Local Involvement Networks (LINks) aim to give people a stronger collective voice in how their health and social care services are delivered. Oldham LINk is driven by local individuals and groups and is supported by Gaddum Centre. The role of Oldham LINk is to identify what people want, monitor local services and use LINks legal powers to hold service providers to account.
The Oldham LINk has the power & responsibility to:
- Engage with the community to obtain their opinions about local health & social care services.
- Make reports and recommendations and get a reply within a set amount of time.
- Ask for information and get a reply within a set amount of time
- Go into some types of services to see how they operate (Enter & View)
- Tell elected politicians on an Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) what they have found and get a response.
Gaddum Centre set up the Oldham LINk host team that currently consists of a Manager, an Outreach and Engagement Worker and an Administrator. The host team helps to support the Oldham LINk in its operations and activities. Sometimes it is easy to get the LINk and the host team confused, however the host team are employees of Gaddum Centre and the Oldham LINk consists of members & participants not employed by Gaddum Centre.
A host organisation is an organisation which has been commissioned by the Local authority. The host organisation is responsible for appointing a host team. The host team then supports the LINk in its operations and activities. Additionally the host team promote the LINk to engaging as many people from the community as possible.
Gaddum Centre is Oldham LINk’s host organisation. Gaddum Centre is a not-for-profit organisation and is a well respected independent voluntary sector agency with a long history of providing quality services in the field of social and health care.
Gaddum Centre was established in 1833 and believes that people receiving services have the right to quality information and support to enable them to make informed choices about their lives. Gaddum Centre works together with other service providers in the voluntary, statutory and private sectors, and has partnership arrangements covering a variety of services from Advice and Information, Counselling, Advocacy, to Training and Project Management. Gaddum Centre provides services to individuals, families, agencies, local and health authorities, as well as professionals and companies. Gaddum Centre's work is funded in many ways including, revenue funding, contracts, donations and payment for selected services. In most cases services are free to families and individuals. However, people can purchase services for themselves when they are not otherwise funded.
Please do not hesitate to contact Gaddum Centre for clarification. Some services are geographically based depending on the type of service. Gaddum Centre’s Contact Details:
Gaddum House, 6 Great Jackson St, Manchester M15 4AX
Tel: 0161 834 6069 Fax: 0161 839 8574
The LINk has a host organisation and team to coordinate the strategic direction of the project so LINk members can concentrate on the most important part of the project that is, monitoring and analysing health and social care services to suggest recommendations for improvement.
LINks exist because the Department of Health wants local authorities to include individuals and groups in the process of service reform and improvement. The Department of Health expects that LINks will build on existing networks within communities and highlight health & social care service issues specific to that area, which would otherwise go unnoticed due to communication barriers or lack of local knowledge.
The funding comes from the Department of Health it is given to local authorities and each local authority was able to choose their own host organisation. Oldham LINk’s host organisation is Gaddum Centre.
The LINk adapted its engagement method in order to achieve some key recommendations from a review by its members. These were to:
- Better involve statutory bodies and to establish firmer relationships;
- Raise awareness and enhance networking activity; and
- Be outcome focused in order to complete pieces of work that could inform commissioning.
Adopting a predominantly public events model to engagement, designed with the commissioner in mind meant that resources were able to be stretched further and a greater number of people were enabled to be directly involved. More so, it has meant that the recommendations presented have been ‘tangible’ for commissioners to be able to build upon.
Issues looked at using this methodology were determined by the Host team gathering intelligence directly from members of the public and from local voluntary organisations too. As such the LINk has been able to enhance its transparency and accountability to the wider public. This has also enabled the LINk to be responsive to current issues and to be able to respond promptly.
Healthcare focuses on physical and mental health and Oldham LINk work would mainly focus on services that are provided by General Practitioners (GP) or Hospitals. Social care focuses on services that are provided that are periphery to healthcare they focus more on the wellbeing of people and most are provided by Social Services examples of these services provided include protection of vulnerable adults and support services for carers. Health & social care are closely linked and rely closely on effective integration for people who use the services to have good experiences so they can concentrate on recovery. Hence the importance of raising issues as your opinion could potentially help to improve the quality of people’s lives.
The Overview & Scrutiny Committee (OSC) consists of people from local authorities. The OSC can review any local health service provided and commissioned by the NHS as well as those provided by local authorities. Senior staff from healthcare organisations can attend meetings held by these committees to explain how they are addressing the needs of the local community. Oldham LINk’s Governors will attend the OSC meetings on behalf of LINk members.
Anyone can get involved! In fact that is our aim, for the Oldham LINk’s recommendations to reflect the true needs and wants of Oldham residents the LINk must include as many people’s experiences, views and opinions as possible. The more people that get involved the stronger the Oldham LINk becomes!
You can get in touch and tell us your motivation and then we will be able to send you relevant information so that you can make an informed decision about the level of involvement you would like. Whether that be a Member or Participant Call us: 0161 622 5700
A Member’s Role
As a member of the LINk you make a commitment to participate regularly in the development and implementation of the LINk through various activities. An individual, group or organisation may become a member of the LINk. Members may get involved in a range of tasks and activities according to individual interests and may also become authorised representatives (on satisfactory completion of a Criminal Record Bureau Disclosure) who may make use of the power to enter and view health and social care premises.
A Participant’s Role
As a participant of the LINk an individual, group or organisation can also be part of the service reform & improvement process, though they may not be in a position or want to participate on a regular basis. A participant may be interested in a single issue or take an active role in a specific Working Group. A participant may occasionally answer surveys or provide information about an issue they have had following an experience, or provide information on behalf of an interest group.
Members and Participants
The time that you put in being either a participant or a member can also vary. Some roles need a regular commitment whilst others can be arranged more flexibly. Some activities only happen within office hours, whilst some will operate at other times. We will work with you to find the best opportunities for your time and interests. Remember signing up to the LINk in one way does not mean that somewhere along the line you cannot decide to change. Participants and members can be involved in more than one type of activity. Training opportunities will arise for LINk members and participants and we will be working with people to capture their ideas around training opportunities or perhaps utilising the skills and experiences people would like to share.
LINks do not tackle and resolve individuals’ complaints, but understand that it is often personal experiences that motivate people to become involved. Therefore, it is encouraged to share experiences and recommendations.