HealthWatch England
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Oscar Williams

News editor

HealthWatch becomes first government agency to sign up to Workplace by Facebook

NHS patients champion HealthWatch England has become the first UK government agency to sign up for Workplace by Facebook, the embattled social network’s professional communications platform.

HealthWatch is in the process of rolling out the service, which offers traditional Facebook features to business users, to its network of 152 local centres, where staff and volunteers will use it to communicate with one another, and access advice and support.

While two NHS trusts in the north of England have already adopted Workplace, HealthWatch is believed to be the first central government agency to do so. The organisation opted to pay £22,000 for the premium version of the platform, which means that all data remains within its control and is not used to serve targeted advertising at users.

Jacob Lant, head of policy at HealthWatch, told NS Tech that the organisation previously used Yammer, one of Workplace’s rivals, but that Facebook offered “a platform that our network would be more familiar with”. It’s too early to say whether it’s made huge  changes yet but we expect it to.”

The agency, which gathers feedback on NHS services from patients across the country, will continue to use a separate service to share confidential information, such as patients’ remarks about services.

Julien Lesaicherre, director of Workplace by Facebook, told NS Tech: “In today’s work landscape, the need for better collaboration, user-friendly and mobile-first tools has never been more critical. As such, organisations across all industries must look to technology to provide them with the tools to be better connected and empowered.

“As one of the key independent health and social care organisations in England, we’re excited to be partnering with HealthWatch to help its employees better collaborate and communicate by using Workplace. We already partner with a number of public sector organisations around the world, including the City of Oslo and the Government of Singapore, and we’re thrilled that HealthWatch has chosen Workplace.”

Workplace was established by Facebook’s London office in 2015 as its answer to the rise of collaboration tools such as Slack and Yammer. In 2017, Facebook revealed that more than 30,000 organisations had signed up to the platform. As NS Tech reported earlier this month, the decision by global food giant Nestle to go all-in last year represents one of the biggest moments yet in Workplace’s brief history. It has signed up around 210,000 employees to the service to date.