The NHS Confederation has launched a new network to help communication and engagement leaders in integrated care systems (ICSs) share best practice and learning.
The ICS Communications and Engagement Forum, which will hold its first event in July, will connect systems as each develops its approach to communications before they gain statutory footing next April.
The forum will provide a more formal route for ICS communicators to develop thought leadership on the profession, with opportunities for ICS communicators to hear from experts in other sectors, NHS Confederation said.
An election will be held for two weeks later this month to select the first chair and vice-chair, it added.
Daniel Reynolds, director of communications and membership operations at the NHS Confederation, said that effective communication and engagement were ‘crucial’ in helping ICSs and their partners work transparently.
The pandemic has helped to remove divisions between communicators in different organisations, he said, adding that there is ‘much good practice to build on and we look forward to sharing learning and connecting ICS communications and engagement leaders as we move towards local systems becoming statutory bodies’.
The forum joins several others set up by the NHS Confederation to support ICS leaders, including chairs and mental health leads.
In February, the Government’s white paper for a new Health and Care Bill outlined plans to bring forward measures for statutory Integrated Care Systems (ICSs).