Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust (HEFT) is one of the largest Hospital Trusts in England with a public membership approaching 100,000. It employs more than 10,000 members of staff, and is one of the top five employers in the Midlands. The Trust includes Birmingham Heartlands Hospital, Solihull Hospital and Community Services, Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield and Birmingham Chest Clinic, as well as a number of smaller community-based satellite units – the Trust treats around 1.2 million patients every year, with 250,000 attending its hospital emergency departments. HEFT’s hospitals deliver more babies than anywhere else in Europe. HEFT is a world leader in tackling MRSA and specialises in treating patients suffering from a wide range of illnesses including heart and kidney disease, cancer, HIV and AIDS, as well as respiratory conditions like Cystic Fibrosis.

The Challenge

UK Engage, the fastest-growing provider of electoral services to the Foundation Trust sector, was asked to manage and administer HEFT’s 2013 election, the first election following significant constitutional changes including the restructuring of the Public constituency boundaries. UK-Engage was tasked with delivering an election process tailored to HEFT’s specific needs that was not only accessible and user-friendly for the widest range of members, but that also met all statutory and constitutional requirements.

The Solution

  • UK-Engage sent out a personalised information mailing to all 110,000 members tailored to each of the 14 constituencies as part of the notice of election which included information about the work of the Trust, what is involved in being a governor and details of the new public on the new constituency boundaries.
  • UK-Engage provided a micro-site from which members could access and download information about the election including nomination forms.
  • UK-Engage verified the constituency allocation of all public members to ensure that they received information relevant to their area.
  • UK-Engage supported the trust with marketing collateral including posters, pull-up banners, full colour Notice of Election documentation and a new UK-Engage 0345 helpline number.
  • UK-Engage supported well-attended information sessions for potential governors at Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital in Sutton Coldfield and Solihull Hospital.
  • UK-Engage designed colourful and accessible ballot packs to encourage members to find out more about their candidates and to vote.

The Result

  • 73 candidates were nominated across 14 constituencies.
  • Approximately 50 per cent of candidates benefitted from having a free photo taken at one of our three candidate information sessions.
  • The Solihull Constituency was the most fiercely contested with 23 candidates competing for 4 vacancies.
  • HEFT were the first Trust to use UK-Engage’s 0345 number which gave members easy access to the election helpline at a guaranteed low cost.
  • HEFT used our full colour Notice of Election to promote the election.
  • 22 public members and 5 staff members were elected to take their places on the Council of Governors.

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