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28 Questions

Every day staff and volunteers in Camden and Islington talk to hundreds of people who live in these boroughs. Making Every Contact Count (MECC) is about making the most of appropriate opportunities to help local people improve their health and wellbeing.

This new approach is about using the conversations you are already having with residents to signpost them to further support on one of the following issues:

  • Health (stop smoking, physical activity, sensible drinking, mental health, healthy eating and sexual health)
  • Money worries, debt and fuel poverty
  • Getting the right job
  • Housing

MECC is not about adding to your already busy workloads. It is not about staff becoming experts in services such as smoking cessation; staff becoming counsellors or staff telling anyone how to live their life. It is about taking an opportunity to help someone.

Individual lifestyle factors - i.e. everyday choices we make – have a significant impact on a person’s health and wellbeing. Supporting residents to make positive lifestyle choices therefore represents a huge opportunity to improve the health and wellbeing of the Camden and Islington population.

Addressing lifestyle risk factors e.g. smoking, alcohol, sexual health, physical inactivity and unhealthy diets will have an overall impact on quality of life and life expectancy. Health problems like chronic illness and unhealthy lifestyles (e.g. obesity, smoking) are linked to the other issues MECC is tackling.

MECC can help to address health inequalities, which are present in both Camden and Islington. About half of Camden and Islington residents experience poorer health than the national average.

MECC is for anyone in the public or voluntary sectors who come into contact/meet the public through their work. This might include:

  • Local Authority teams such as Customer Contact Centres, Housing Services, Libraries and Sport & Leisure etc.
  • NHS organisations including GP practices and pharmacies
  • Voluntary Sector organisations such as Age UK and local Community Centres
  • Social Enterprises
  • Colleges

Many people will already be doing elements of MECC as it is necessary to their jobs.  However, most people find there are some parts of MECC that they aren’t that familiar with.

The session will equip participants with a range of specific MECC skills that will enable them to deliver MECC confidently and consistently well. It covers:

  • Opportunities we have to have helpful conversations
  • Communication skills to raise an issue, open up a conversation and assess a person’s readiness to change
  • Behaviour change techniques (including basic motivational interviewing techniques);
  • Delivering brief advice and brief interventions
  • Signposting and helpful online resources

To book onto a course go to the Courses page and select the course that best suits you. At this point you will need to login or register if you haven't done so previously.

The Public Health Team have commissioned training and support for MECC for 4 years. However, we want MECC to become a way of working, so it won’t be going away.

MECC is more than a training programme - it is about an approach that needs to be embedded in your role. Overall, the approach starts with you!

Organisations that work with the public have significant potential to encourage, inform and enable people to make decisions that can enhance their health and wellbeing.

There are thousands of public and third sector staff across Camden & Islington. Making Every Contact Count is a programme that mobilises all of these workers to simply ask ‘how are you’ to the people they meet and, where there is an opportunity, respond with helpful information. If we can get everyone doing this consistently we can make a huge difference to how people think about their health and wellbeing, and support them to make healthier choices.

To engage with MECC, we need your organisation to:

  • Commit to work towards a group of your frontline workers making every contact count
  • Have senior leaders announce the organisations commitment to your staff and volunteers
  • Organise middle management support for your staff and volunteers to engage with MECC and use it in their day to day work
  • Release staff for a half-day training session
  • Identify a MECC Champion who can be internal contact and source of support after the training

Although this programme is about working in new ways, it is designed to fit into current roles: it is about using existing opportunities. MECC is not about adding to already busy workloads. It is not about staff becoming experts in services such as smoking cessation; staff becoming counsellors or staff telling anyone how to live their life. It is about taking an opportunity to help someone.

A MECC conversation shouldn’t take lots of time – usually five minutes, a maximum of 15 minutes for those that have a little more time to talk in their roles. The idea is that these are short conversations that fit in with existing commitments.

The Social Marketing Gateway http://www.socialmarketinggateway.co.uk is delivering the training. They are a specialist behaviour change consultancy and training company. SMG has developed and delivered behaviour change and MECC training programmes for over 6 years to thousands of frontline staff in organisations across the UK.

Yes. The face-to-face training delivered by SMG is accredited by the RSPH.

Yes. Assuming sufficient numbers of participants can be organised and subject to trainer availability, we would be delighted to arrange a bespoke training session on a date and venue that will suit you. Please contact us at meccsupport@smgateway.co.uk

The e-learning provides an introduction to MECC, recognising the various needs of residents and knowledge on where to signpost them for further support. We recommend you first take our e-learning, which takes approximately 30-40 minutes to complete.

To start the e-learning, please click here.

  • Encouraging colleagues to take up MECC (eLearning & face-to-face) and other related training
  • Talking to people about how they found the training
  • Helping colleagues to think about or try out MECC
  • Facilitating MECC skills practice amongst colleagues
  • Identifying and sharing good practice (from your workplace and/or other areas)

The opportunity to enhance your professional skills and competencies. You will:

  • Receive additional training and mentoring that will enhance your skills and competencies. For example, refresher MECC training, Identification and Brief Advice (IBA) training and simulation training.
  • Get access to a dedicated MECC Champions private area of the MECC website giving access to additional resources/information and webinars etc.

A positive recognition of performance and development. A positive MECC contribution recognised at appraisal (i.e. someone’s MECC practice is recognised as a contributing factor for achieving a personal goal(s)).

Recognition that you are a consumer/citizen champion

If you’re dealing with the public and public facing teams on a daily basis, being a MECC Champion will complement what you are already doing. It shouldn’t generate lots of extra work other than some extra time required to participate in the additional training and learning activities.

To put yourself forward please email Mubasshir Ajar, MECC Programme Lead at mubasshir.ajaz@camden.gov.uk or mubasshir.ajaz@islington.gov.uk

If you’re a department head or manager please cascade this to your team(s) and encourage participation – you may want to nominate appropriate team members – team leaders of customer facing staff would make good candidates.

The MECC Healthy Hero Award is an opportunity to showcase the work of an outstanding Camden or Islington staff member or volunteer who has been able to inspire a local resident to look after, or make a change to their health and wellbeing.

Anyone who has completed the MECC eLearning or attended the face-to-face training and can share their experience of using MECC principles to make a useful recommendation for a Camden or Islington resident.

We are looking for your stories where you have spotted an opportunity to have a conversation with a resident about their health, housing or employment and used MECC techniques in this conversation. This may have been where you went above and beyond your normal role to help someone out, for example, helping someone access a wellbeing service or provide information on local support available. This may be a chat with a neighbour, friend, colleague, or other resident in Camden or Islington.

As much as we want to know all the successes that come out of MECC encounters, we understand that many times we won’t know how far a person is able to take our advice forward. That’s okay — just provide as much detail as you can about the interaction you had!

We want to see that appropriate conversational techniques and relevant MECC signposting routes have been communicated in conversations with Camden or Islington residents, to broach topics such as:

  • Healthy living, including stop smoking, physical activity, sensible drinking, mental health, healthy eating, and sexual health
  • Money worries, debt and fuel poverty
  • Getting the right job
  • Housing

A MECC healthy hero would ensure they are listening and asking the right questions to find out about underlying health and wellbeing needs, and subsequently delivering brief advice there and then, or signposting to other services for support.

Fill out the short online survey here: https://survs.com/survey/122jlfcwkt

Complete questions 1-6 and submit! If you require additional support, or would like clarity on the questions, please feel free to email mecc@islington.gov.uk or efi.argyropoulou@islington.gov.uk

The deadline to submit all case studies is 11:59pm on Monday 15th April. The winner will be announced after Monday 15th April.

Refreshers and factsheets are always available on the MECC website! You are welcome to revisit the e-Learning module, or book on to another face-to-face.

A three-person panel, all of whom are well-versed in MECC principles, will undertake the review of all submissions. We want to see:

  • Evidence of an understanding of MECC principles, i.e. spotting an opportunity and use of MECC tools and relevant signposting strategies to have a conversation with a Camden or Islington resident.
  • The MECC conversation story or stories
  • And, if feasible, what the outcome/impact was for your client (if known)

In addition to the winners being featured on our website, first prize winner will be awarded a FitBit charge2 heart rate and fitness wristband. Runner up will win a trampoline session at the Sobell Leisure Centre for them and their team (up to six members)!

Thank you for your interest in the MECC Healthy Hero Award. We look very forward to hearing about your heroic ‘MECCxperiences’! Please encourage your team members to submit their story! We hope to showcase these stories at a Healthy Hero event in April.