News Opinion

Including, listening, and learning lead to a better understanding for all

Lynne Adams, Marketing Communications Manager, Consensus

One year ago we as a marketing team embarked on a project to improve the Consensus website, it led to a total overhaul, having also seized the opportunity to live and breathe our values and approach it in an inclusive manner.

Colleagues felt strongly that the Consensus website needed improving after internal feedback expressed that it could work better for our customers. Knowing how important it is to communicate well, we did not want to just do a “quick fix” by adding a few new pictures and words here and there. So, we decided to go back to basics and ensure that a completely new site would be fit for purpose but also be extremely inclusive ensuring that the end result reflected the input and views of the individuals we support.

Our original objectives included; Creating a better user experience and journey for customers, easier navigation, more representative content and key news and initiatives we were involved in being more prominent.

We wanted to give confidence that Consensus understands and meets people’s needs and wants, and signpost customers to our referrals team easily, but we also wanted to become a trusted, valued regular information source reflecting a strong brand that conveys who we are, our values and how we support people in living happy fulfilling lives.

We met with a group of 20 people we support to understand their lives and experiences better, starting with a one day interactive and inclusive workshop. Individuals were asked to select from a range of different images which best demonstrated their life and also bought their own favourite photos to talk through and share. They were invited to produce a board with all the photos and sentiment which best explained their life. This gave insight into the places they like to visit, the activities they enjoy, the importance of socialising, friends and family, building friendships, everyday pleasures and how they manage their life. Individuals were asked to talk about what was important to them, their goals and achievements and life at the home in which they lived.

This helped inform the photography– to show real people in real situations – the situations they said they wanted to see. This was all about embracing opportunities, having choices and being proud of successes and we feel confident that these strengths shine through our imagery across the site and our marketing communications. This also helped us to determine the key messages Consensus should convey, from the people who know us best so that others could easily understand our values and what we stand for.

Before the website went live we met, again, with a core group of individuals to gather their feedback on how the site was working for them, whether they were happy with the images being portrayed and the effectiveness of the pages (with easy read) for people with learning disability. This gave us an opportunity to make tweaks and take on board further suggestions. Feedback was positive and there was real appreciation from the individuals involved in the process that their views had been sought and heard.

This is an on-going process, complemented by John, Consensus’ Expert by Experience lead who is involved in the project and works extremely hard to keep the voice and the views of the people we support at the forefront. We support him with producing easy read materials, posters and materials for his paid role within Consensus so he can share these and communicate effectively on his visits around our services.

It has been a valuable collaboration, building up mutual trust, understanding and respect and most importantly building relationships at the heart of our business.

When it came to re-launching our website we had clear objectives around creating a great user experience and journey for commissioners and families and to make visitors feel confident that we understood their needs. But what was really important in remaining true to our brand was to present Consensus in an accurate, realistic way – to let the people we support tell their stories about their life at Consensus.

Through our approach we believe we now have and convey a real understanding of their life on a day to day basis and what opportunity, choice and success looks like for people we support.


Edel Harris





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