What is the Somerset LINk?
The Somerset Local Involvement Network (LINk) is a network of local people and groups in Somerset who have an interest in health services and social care, and want to feed their views back to the people that run the services. A LINk's role is to:
LISTEN to what local people want
INVESTIGATE issues of concern to the community
MONITOR local services
USE ITS POWERS to hold services to account and get results
Sometimes the people who use services don't feel they have a strong enough voice to change aspects of their health or social care. LINks help the community have a stronger local voice.
Why should I join the Somerset LINk?
If you want to find out about health and social care locally and have your say in decisions about these local services, then the Somerset Local Involvement Network is for you.
Individuals and organisations can all be participants of the Somerset LINk. The more it becomes a "network of networks", the more strength it will have in the Somerset community and the stronger its voice will become on your behalf.
You can join the Somerset LINk by registering on this website, or just using our simple form - or you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll sign you up. You will then receive our quarterly newsletter and can participate as much or as little as you like.
What powers does the Somerset LINk have?
A LINk has powers in law to:
- 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
- make reports and recommendations and receive a response
- refer issues to the local 'Overview and Scrutiny Committee'
Who is the Somerset LINk accountable to?
First and foremost - the people of Somerset! It's the job of the LINk to represent the patient voice and the views of the people of Somerset.
The LINk is independent of:
- central government
- local government
The LINk's funding is channeled through an independent charity called Help & Care. This is known as the 'host organisation'.
As LINks are publicly funded they also need to report annually to the Secretary of State. Local people and groups need to have confidence that the LINk understands local health and social care needs and have developed a credible work programme based on local priorities. The LINk aims to be open and honest and work in ways that are free from bias.
The initial Board of the Somerset LINk is referred to as the Steering Group. The Steering Group is accountable to the wider LINk and the LINk is accountable to the Overview and Scrutiny Committee at Somerset County Council.