Integrated Care System Board censors public questions about public participation. Duh.

Well well well, just watching the West Yorkshire and Harrogate Integrated Care System Board webcast and Stephen Gregg, the Governance Lead, announced only John Puntis had asked questions. This is despite the fact that my questions in relation to the Review of the Public Participation at the WY&H Partnership Board were acknowledged yesterday in an email by the Integrated Care System Engagement Officer. My 4 related questions started:

1. In general, why are West Yorkshire and Harrogate Integrated Care System responses to public questions consistently so rubbish?

On hearing Stephen Gregg announce that only one person (John) had asked questions, I promptly messaged the Integrated Care System Board webcast, but my comment is STILL awaiting moderation by an administrator. So I also emailed Stephen Gregg and the Integrated Care System engagement officer, who has replied to my emails.

Email thread follows:

I’m watching the Board webcast and was very surprised to hear Stephen Gregg say that only John Puntis had sent in questions. I did message to say I’d sent questions too but saw that my comment has been held for moderation by an admin.

Good afternoon Jenny

It’s my understanding that your feedback is going to be covered as part of the Healthwatch agenda items as it seemed to relate to public participation feedback about where we can improve processes – and your feedback it very valuable to us, thank you Jenny. Do hope this is ok and please do send us a little date to meet when best for you.

Thank you so much once again

Thanks for your reply,

If the practice is now to relegate questions to the agenda item they relate to, why weren’t John’s questions dealt with in the relevant agenda items that they relate to?

And why was the misleading comment made to the Board that questions had only been received from him?

It really isn’t ok to relegate my questions to the Healthwatch agenda item,  or to mislead the Board that only one person sent in questions.

Regards Jenny

Hello Jenny

Thank you for your email.

As your email related to missing the Healthwatch survey and set out your helpful comments on public question processes, we thought it was the most helpful way of addressing your valuable feedback and comments.

Please be assured we will be looking at all feedback from yourself and others as part of our improvement process. We are very happy to meet with you as suggested. We take all feedback very seriously and value the time you and everyone take to do this.

I hope that helps Jenny

Thank you so much

If it is going to be ICS practice from now on to decide whether or not to present public questions to the Board, I think you need to recognise this amounts to censorship,  and the ICS should announce when inviting public questions that they may not be presented to the Board. It’s particularly risible that you decided to censor my questions in relation to a review of public participation!


Forwarded thread to the Healthwatch person who was due to present the Healthwatch review of public participation in the Integrated Care System Board meetings:

Hi Helen
Please see this email thread about my censored questions to the ICS board today.
Best wishes,
Jenny Shepherd

Then the Director of West Yorks ICS emailed:

Hello Jenny –
It is not practice to decide whether or not to present questions to the board.  Our intention was to flag at the start of the meeting that we had received feedback from you on the QA process which we’d address under the relevant agenda item.  Apologies that this didn’t happen – it was an oversight.
In terms of your feedback, rest assured that we will take it into account alongside other comments we have received in line with the process described by Helen Hunter in the meeting.
Best wishes

My reply:

With respect Ian, you did decide whether or not to present questions to the Board.

I would like my questions included in the Minutes, please, together with an acknowledgement that I sent them in for the Public Questions slot, in relation to the agenda item Review of the Public Participation at the WY&H Partnership Board, and that you decided not to include them in that slot.

I think an explanation is due about why you thought it was appropriate to suppress my questions – and they were NOT addressed in the discussion of the Public Participation Review – when you did not see fit to similarly relegate John Puntis’s questions to being “addressed” under the relevant agenda item. Sauce for the goose and all that.

I honestly can’t rest assured that you’ll take any notice of my questions (which you’ve re-designated as “feedback”), when you’re not prepared to have them put to the Board – or even acknowledge that they’re questions. I didn’t ask for them “to be taken into account”, I asked for them to be answered, and brought to the attention of the Board.

However, West Yorkshire and Harrogate Integrated Care System Lead Chief Executive Rob Webster has tweeted that my questions will be Minuted and receive a written answer.

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