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Mission Statement & Governance Framework

"HealthWatch Hartlepool has been established in a way that is inclusive and enables involvement from all areas of the local community. We wish to involve those who are seldom heard."


View and download our Decision Making Policy (PDF)

1. Statement of Values

1.1 HealthWatch Hartlepool is the umbrella organisation which brings together existing and new consultation groups, networks, organisations and individuals in Hartlepool to enable them to have a voice in improving health and social care services.

1.2 HealthWatch Hartlepool does this by working in a collaborative and inclusive way across Hartlepool taking account of the rich diversity of the people of Hartlepool and their needs.

2. Structure of HealthWatch Hartlepool

2.1 There is no formal ‘membership’ of the HealthWatch Hartlepool as it exists as an open network that can be accessed by:

  1. Individuals - anyone living in, or receiving health and social care services in the Borough of Hartlepool
  2. Groups - any voluntary/community group or business organisation which operates in the Borough of Hartlepool

2.2 The organisation will maintain a database of people who have expressed an interest in being involved in developing and supporting HealthWatch Hartlepool.

2.3 HealthWatch Hartlepool will aim to make use of existing consultation groups, networks and organisations in Hartlepool to enable them to have a voice in improving health and social care services.

2.4 When necessary HealthWatch Hartlepool will establish new consultation groups, networks and organisations in Hartlepool to enable them to have a voice in improving health and social care services.

2.5 HealthWatch Hartlepool will maintain a written work programme that will track the progress made on the issues that HealthWatch is pursuing to help improve health and social care services. This work programme shall be reviewed periodically but at a minimum of 6 monthly.

2.6 HealthWatch Hartlepool Executive

2.7 The function of the HealthWatch Executive will be to manage the work programme and steer the work of the organisation. The Executive must represent the wider community whilst supporting and enabling groups and individuals to carry out the work of HealthWatch through: 

  • Organising consultation to develop the HealthWatch Hartlepool Plan their work through existing and ‘Task & Finish’ groups
  • Ensuring key local stakeholders are represented and their views considered 
  • Allocating resources for the work of HealthWatch
  • Communicating with the wider community
  • Planning & agreeing work and allocating appropriate resources to support that work
  • Supporting groups to undertake work and take up issues as necessary
  • Supporting groups to produce credible reports, which commissioners and providers can use to improve services
  • Approving reports produced by groups on behalf of HealthWatch

2.8 Executive members will work as volunteers to carry out work, attend Executive meetings and other meetings as and when required.

2.9 Membership of the Executive

2.10 Membership of HealthWatch Hartlepool Executive will be subject to appointment & must play an active role in the work of the organisation. Representation at the Annual General Meeting is open to all residents of Hartlepool, who wish to be involved, and representatives from any VCS, stakeholder and business groups. The AGM will also promote the work of Healthwatch Hartlepool and welcome new participants.

2.11 The staff will maintain a full list of the membership of the Hartlepool LINk Executive.

2.12 The HealthWatch Executive will consist of a Chair, Vice Chair and up to 14 elected members, 8 of which shall be from each of the key areas of Local HealthWatch responsibility. Additionally roles and responsibilities will be allocated by the executive in respect of Equality & Diversity, Health & Wellbeing and Clinical Commissioning. The key themed areas of the HealthWatch Hartlepool are: Primary Health, Social Care, Acute Care, Children & Young People, Older People, Mental Health, Disabilities and Life-long conditions.

2.13 Nomination forms for our AGM will be issued no later than 3 weeks prior to the notified Annual General Meeting. If necessary a ballot will take place at the Annual General Meeting unless positions are unopposed.

2.14 Functioning of the Executive

  • Meetings of the Executive will normally be held 3rd Tuesday of the month
  • Papers will be sent out with a minimum of one weeks notice
  • Minutes must be kept of all Executive meetings 

2.15 Quorum; a minimum of 8 people registered as Executive members must be present for any meeting to be valid or able to make decisions. All meetings must be duly notified to all members in order to be deemed an Executive meeting.

2.16 HealthWatch Hartlepool ‘Task & Finish’ groups: One of the Executive may chair each meeting with the agreement of the relevant group. The progress of the group may be reported back to the Executive on a monthly basis. All work must be concluded through a final report to be approved by the Executive prior to publication.

2.17 The Executive, together with Partner Organisations, will identify what level of support to give each group in terms of organising meetings, taking minutes, supporting work projects etc.

2.18 Any Executive member who wishes to join a ‘Task & Finish’ group is free to do so and groups cannot discriminate against members. HealthWatch members must adhere to the code of conduct of the HealthWatch Hartlepool.

2.19 Consultation Organisations: There are existing groups set up by other agencies which represent particular interests and may wish to be part of HealthWatch Hartlepool i.e. Mental Health, Disability etc.

2.20 These Consultation Groups will undertake work that the HealthWatch would have done but does not wish to duplicate.

2.21 HealthWatch will work with groups to ensure that joint objectives for service delivery and improvements are achieved.  The relationship between HealthWatch and other organisations will be determined on a case-by-case basis.

2.22 Where HealthWatch has concerns that a group is not effective it could offer support to the group to improve its effectiveness on a case-by-case basis.

3. Work of HealthWatch Hartlepool

3.1 The work of the HealthWatch Hartlepool will be steered and agreed by the Executive through feedback from the any appointed ‘Task & Finish’ groups and through associated public consultation.

3.2 The work of HealthWatch Hartlepool will be monitored by staff to track the progress made on the issues that HealthWatch is pursuing through the ‘Task & Finish’ groups, any other designated working groups and public consultation.

3.3 The Executive will allocate resources to allow this work to be undertaken

3.4 There are statutory powers HealthWatch has which will underpin its work, these mean that HealthWatch can:

  • Question commissioners and providers and receive a response within 20 working days. This will be conducted through ad-hoc meetings to be requested by the Executive.
  • Refer issues to Overview and Scrutiny via the Council’s Audit & Governance committee and expect to receive a response within 20 working days
  • Enter and view premises where publicly funded care is being provided, this will be done in line with the Code of Conduct relating to HealthWatch Hartlepool’s powers to ‘Enter and View’ services

3.5 HealthWatch Hartlepool will support other organisations to do pieces of work but the Executive would need to approve any reports produced

3.6 HealthWatch Hartlepool will collate information on Health & Social care services through ‘storyboards’ and provide feedback to all participants on any associated piece of work

3.7 HealthWatch Hartlepool will ensure that relevant work receives publicity and that all reports are put on the HealthWatch Hartlepool website

3.8 Healthwatch Hartlepool shall hold 4 quarterly public meetings themed around Life-Long conditions agreed by the ‘Life-Long’ conditions group

3.9 HealthWatch Hartlepool shall hold a monthly meeting in respect of their role ‘Enter & View’ to manage and progress referrals. These meetings may include guest speakers from partner organisations to increase member awareness, changes in legislation, NHS structures etc.

3.10 HealthWatch Hartlepool shall promote choice and signpost the public to relevant services in relation to Health & Social care providers.

3.11 HealthWatch Hartlepool shall develop and maintain a training plan for all members including induction, skill base analysis and continuous personal development.

4. Relationships with statutory agencies

4.1 The Executive will liaise with the Council’s Health & Wellbeing Board, Audit & Governance Committee and the Clinical Commissioning Group to keep them informed of the actions of HealthWatch

4.2 The Executive and/or staff may meet with the Council or relevant partner organisation or private providers to discuss the outcome of any piece of work

4.3 Individuals representing HealthWatch at Trust, Clinical Commissioning Groups and Audit & Governance Committees must be appointed by the Executive. These individuals must report back to the Executive. Any member of HealthWatch Hartlepool must seek authorisation before attending meetings on behalf of or representing HealthWatch Hartlepool. Other associated bodies requiring representation include:

The Children’s Partnership, North East Ambulance Service, Quality Standards Steering Group, Voice for You, Learning Disability Partnership Board, Vulnerable Adults Board, North Tees & Hartlepool NHS Trust Clinical Effectiveness.

5. Relationships with other agencies

5.1 All contacts have to go through the Executive for information or advice.

5.2 Only the Chair, Vice Chair and HealthWatch staff may speak on behalf of HealthWatch Hartlepool to outside agencies.

5.3 Anyone who speaks to the press or other outside agency on behalf of HealthWatch may only speak on relevant issues agreed by the Executive and when it has been agreed that this person can speak to the agency concerned (for example where special knowledge or expertise is required)

6. Conduct of Healthwatch members

6.1 The Executive members must abide by the Executive Role Description and Specification which is based on ‘The Seven Principles of Public Life’.

7. Registering an Interest

7.1 HealthWatch members should declare any information appropriate for inclusion on a Register of Interests and where members have a conflict of interest they should declare it and withdraw from the decision making process. This is to assure the public that HealthWatch Hartlepool responsibilities are carried out in an impartial and transparent way. Failure to declare conflict of interest is a breach of the HealthWatch Hartlepool Code of Conduct.  Any conflict of interest that might be considered to influence a member’s actions as a HealthWatch member must be declared to the HealthWatch Executive as soon as it arises.  The HealthWatch staff will offer advice and keep the Register of Interests up to date

7.2 Simply knowing a Register exists together with this policy, will assure the public and our members that we, as HealthWatch Hartlepool Executive members, do not make decisions in a way which furthers our own interests and that our responsibilities are carried out clearly and honestly

7.3 What is an interest? - The criteria is not whether a Executive member thinks they have an interest to declare but whether another Executive member, or a member of the public would think they have an interest to declare

7.4 An example of a declarable interest would be one which was of financial benefit, such as a member deciding about care services which they, or a group to which they belong, provide. It would also be knowledge of, or an interest in, another person, such as friends or family members

8. Complaints

8.1 If there is a complaint about HealthWatch this will be dealt with through the organisations own complaints procedure

8.2 If there is a complaint about staff, an individual member or a group, this must be made in writing to the Executive Chair and it will be considered by the Executive in a private part of the Executive meeting.  The Chair will arrange for an independent investigation of the complaint if required.

8.3 If there is a complaint about the Executive Chair this must be made in writing to the Executive Vice-Chair and it will be considered by the Executive in a private part of the Executive meeting in the absence of the Chair.  The Vice Chair will arrange for an independent investigation of the complaint if required

9. Quality Accounts

9.1 In the event that HealthWatch Hartlepool is requested to contribute to an organisations’ Quality Account, staff will work with the associated themed group to prepare a draft response to be presented to the Executive. This will give the Executive an opportunity to amend and contribute fully. The Quality Account will be endorsed by the Executive and signed by the current Chair before submission.

10. Equality and Diversity

10.1 HealthWatch Hartlepool has been established in a way that is inclusive and enables involvement from all areas of the local community. We wish to involve those who are seldom heard. Membership of the Executive must undertake appropriate Equality and Diversity awareness training as part of their commitment to HealthWatch Hartlepool.

11. Review

11.1 A review of these Governance arrangements may be undertaken on an annual basis as and when requested.

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