What do LINks do?
Sometimes service users don’t feel they have a strong enough voice to change aspects of their health or social care. The introduction of LINks is part of a wider process to help the community have a stronger local voice. A LINk’s role is to:
- ask local people what they think about local healthcare services and provide a chance to suggest ideas to help improve services
- investigate specific issues of concern to the community
- use its powers to hold services to account and get results
- ask for information and get an answer in a specified amount of time
- be able to carry out spot-checks to see if services are working well (carried out under safeguards)
- make reports and recommendations and receive a response
- refer issues to the local ‘Overview and Scrutiny Committee’
How are LINks funded and organised?
- Under the legislation that establishes LINks (Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007), local authorities have been given £84 million in funding to support LINk activities between 2008 – 2011.
- Each authority has to contract an organisation (known as a host) to set up and then run a LINk.
- It’s up to each community, with the support of a host, to decide how they want their LINk to be run and what issues they want it to focus on. However to help LINks, a range of advice and guidance has been made available.
What powers do LINks have?
LINks will have a range of powers so that they can say how local services should improve. They will be able to:
- 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.
- LINks have the power to “Enter and View” some types of services to see what they do.
- Tell elected politicians on an Overview and Scrutiny Committee (OSC) what they have found and get a response.
Who is the Host and what is their role?
The host of the Birmingham LINk is Gateway Family Services. Gateway is a Community Interest Company which operates throughout the West Midlands. As host, Gateway will support the LINk and allow it to do its work. Gateway will not be involved in setting or deciding the actions of the LINk. The host also holds the budget but it is the responsibility of the members to decide how it is spent.
How do I get involved?
It’s easy! First of all you have to complete our online survey in order to become a member and let us know your priorities for health and social care in the city. After this you can get involved and start to change health and social care for the better. You can do this by attending one of our Action Groups or by joining us at one of our community events and engaging with the people of the city. Also, as part of our database we will keep you informed of our progress and consult you at regular intervals on major decisions being taken in the city on health and social care.
Which Action Groups are available?
Groups are organised by themes, or geographical area. We currently have groups for:
- Children and Young people
- Mental Health
- Older People
- Women’s Health and Maternity Services
- Birmingham East and North
- Heart of Birmingham
- South Birmingham
- University Hospital Birmingham
Contact us on Freephone 08006 525278 or Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to join a Working Group or require further information regarding Birmingham LINk.