November 2023: Engage Britain has now merged with Demos. You can still find all our work from 2019-2023 here, but to get in touch or find out about our new ventures, go to

What are Community Conversations?

We asked people across the country to share their health and care experiences, to help bring about national change. Miriam Levin, Engage Britain’s Programme Director, walks through how this important first step in the process worked.

Above: Engage Britain’s four-step process for delivering lasting change

Health and care is the biggest challenge facing our country – as prioritised by you, the British public. And it’s become even more urgent during this pandemic.

So it’s the first challenge Engage Britain has been working on. Starting with finding out exactly what about health and care really matters to people.

So we launched a series of 101 community conversations across England, Scotland, Wales that ran from January to May 2021.

What was involved in each community conversation

101 conversations were held – online rather than face to face, given the Covid situation – with different groups across the whole country.

It was a chance for people to share their ongoing experiences of health and care.

What is working well? What is less good? What would you want to change and make better? And what are your ideas for how to do that?

Hearing from frontline staff

As well as hearing from members of the public, we brought together frontline staff – nurses, doctors, carers – and others who work in health and care.

They’re at the coalface every single day. They have loads of good ideas about how to make things run better.

And people who rely heavily on the NHS

We also wanted to talk to people who rely on the NHS or care services for their daily well-being.

Because if we don’t meet their needs, then we haven’t come up with plans that are any good.

What happens next

There were 101 conversations held online, given the Covid situation

Between these three groups we’re gaining a good understanding of the things that matter to people about health and care, and people’s priorities for change.

We’re then taking all that amazing richness – people’s experiences and ideas for what could be done differently – and feeding it into the next stage of the process.

That’s why these conversations are the bedrock on which the rest of our work will be built.