The Engagement Cycle – meaningful engagement for maximum impact

The Engagement Cycle helps organisations undertake meaningful patient and public engagement for maximum impact. It is a tried and tested, practical resource, used by dozens of Clinical Commissioning Groups (and others) to plan, design and deliver great services for, and with, local people.

This new version of the Engagement Cycle has been developed by InHealth Associates. It has been updated to align with current statutory guidance, new commissioning arrangements and current healthcare challenges.


The Engagement Cycle helps organisations work with patients, carers and the public to transform and improve services so that patients receive integrated services, high quality care and a better experience. The Engagement Cycle;

  • Sets out what is required when engaging patients, carers and the public at each stage of the commissioning process
  • Supports you to develop effective engagement strategies and plans that embed engagement in decision-making – ensuring that ‘nothing about us without us’ is more than rhetoric
  • Provides the basis for developing sustainable systems and processes in order to turn engagement into everyday practice
  • Serves as the foundation for an engagement culture – where working with patients, carers and the public becomes part of everyday behaviours, and effective relationships between professionals and patients is the norm
  • Outlines, who needs to do what at each stage of the commissioning cycle, to ensure meaningful engagement for maximum impact

Our work on the Engagement Cycle is underpinned by a belief that patient and public engagement is about equal partnerships and effective relationships between patients and professionals, and between communities and local organisations. This additional emphasis on relationships has been developed by Mark Doughty, Co-Director of the Centre for Patient Leadership. For more information about this new approach to engagement, see www.cpl-uk.com

We can provide additional resources that will help you use the Engagement Cycle more effectively. These include policy and practice guidance, practical tools and templates to aid implementation and links to useful organisations and case studies.

As the original developers of the Engagement Cycle, we know how you can get the most from its use. We can offer the following to local commissioning organisations

  • Workshops to help develop an engagement strategy, shared vision and understanding and effective systems and processes to support engagement
  • Senior level briefings for Boards and Directors on the business case for engagement
  • Diagnostic and benchmarking activities to measure success and support national performance management requirements
  • In-depth work on particular stages of the Engagement Cycle, for example, service review and redesign
  • Training for staff on how to use the engagement cycle
  • Support on how to meet local challenges, for example how best to gather and use data, working with particular client groups and building capacity for staff or local representatives
  • Development of tools and products, for example on gathering and using data, self-assessment and monitoring frameworks, metrics and evaluation.
  • Dedicated work on service transformation and improvement across particular clinical pathways
  • Learning and support for Patient Leaders – patients, users and carers who want to work collaboratively to influence change

The way we work models effective engagement – see here for more on our values. We hope you find this resource useful. Let us know how you get on.

Permissions and uses

The engagement cycle is now maintained under the Creative Commons Licence (for more information please follow relevant links below).

If you would like to use any of the content please contact the main contributor at InHealth Associates for permission and to let us know what you would like to do with it. Thank you in advance for adhering to our policies.


This work is licensed under a NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 UK)