NHS England asked us to find out people’s views on veterans’ mental health services before they recommissioned them. This is a sensitive and high profile subject, and timescales were extremely tight; we needed to develop, run and report on a high quality national engagement campaign within just a few months.

1,200 consultation responses – four times NHS England’s expectations

Our project included:

  • Designing an engagement document and questionnaire, and testing it with dozens of people and organisations across the country. We made sure it was sensitive to the experiences of ex-armed forces members, used the correct terminology and was engaging to read.
  • Producing other engagement materials and documents in different formats; for example, translating into Nepalese so the Ghurkha community could participate.
  • Analysing more than 1,200 responses. The volume of feedback was four times what NHS England expected, so we quickly mobilised a larger team that worked closely together to analyse feedback consistently and within the agreed timescales.
  • Producing a high quality engagement report.

The response rate to our campaign exceeded all expectations. More than 1,200 questionnaires, letters, emails and comments were received. This rate was driven by 20 published news articles and television and radio interviews, over 45 meetings and events and almost 10,000 tweets, retweets and visits to the website.

As a result of the engagement, NHSE launched a new NHS veterans’ mental health transition, intervention and liaison service. Our work won a UK Public sector Award in 2017 for Consultation and Engagement Campaign – internal or external