We support cross-sector partnerships to tackle health inequalities.
How we support cross-sector partnerships
We’ve been facilitating cross-sector partnerships to develop practical responses to local issues for over 15 years – most recently through Building health partnerships and Transforming healthcare together. We have enabled groups to reach their most isolated and vulnerable community members, ensuring that services meet local needs.
We’re currently working in 11 areas of England, supporting them to meet the challenges of integrated health and social care.
1. 18-month support for 8 partnerships to plan, test and implement changes that improve local health outcomes. We have started working with four areas, who are currently co-designing a tangible focus and outcomes for their work to tackle health inequalities. Current thinking about focus in the areas is:
North Yorkshire: Rurality and transport, possibly in three neighbourhoods – Ryedale, Hambleton and Nidderdale.
Wirral: Older people, possibly on one health inequality issue – frailty and loneliness.
East Sussex: Broad focus to work in a specific geographical area where higher numbers of Black & Minority Ethnic and working to add value to several related/relevant initiatives.
Sheffield: Add value to existing partnership and collaboration processes, possibly on a health inequality issue – diabetes and respiratory issues.
2. Two-part workshops for up to 18 partnerships to take their collaboration to the next level. The first ones of these are booked for:
St Helens: ‘Listen and learn from people in communities about what life is really like here and what is needed to help people in our communities reach their potential’.
Buckinghamshire: Focusing on Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, with the aim of ‘working together on solutions for better access to services and support for families using an asset-based approach’.
Devon: ‘Changing the conversation – hearing different views, strengths and experiences to influence decision-making moving forwards’.
Milton Keynes: ‘Joining the dots on health inequalities and taking some positive and collective action, in the spirit of co-production’, with the aim of developing a Community of Practice to translate shared learning into local action.
Northumberland: Reducing the barriers for those experiencing health inequality by facilitating a shared commitment across sectors to take positive action for change. There is an appetite to join things together and empower the voluntary sector to take the lead and change the dialogue: ‘We need a new narrative’.
Surrey: Developing multi-stakeholder action plans to promote physical activity that can improve health outcomes for the diverse communities in the Canalside ward.
Northamptonshire: Focus to be decided.
3. Sharing learning and resources through two events each year, to inspire others from the voluntary and statutory sectors interested in working together. To hear about the next event, please sign up here.
We support areas who are already involved in local collaborative working to address challenges on their partnership journey.
1. Getting started
We support local areas to build partnerships where no meaningful cross-sector relationships exist.
A local NHS system was created in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire – a large new geography. We brought cross-sector partners together with the broad aim of better understanding the needs of their population. This was a particular challenge due to historic and increasing competition for contracts amongst community organisations. Through a series of workshops, we re-set relationships and established a Social Prescribing Expert Group. This enabled more effective communication between the voluntary sector and the NHS, culminating in the group working together to promote and deliver a consistent social prescribing offer across the new region.
We enable areas with an existing cross-sector partnership to translate good intentions into actionable plans.
In Oldham, working with a recently established group of statutory colleagues and voluntary sector organisations, we ran a workshop to demonstrate the impact of partnership working and develop action plans for the future. The workshop focused on developing a collective evidence base rooted in local practices, to better demonstrate the impact of partnership working. It resulted in agreement between over 30 organisations, across sectors, on a common approach to co-producing services and to commissioning, which will support funding decisions about local health and care services.
Copeland Community Stroke Prevention project: This report is based on the work undertaken through Building Health Partnerships (BHP) in North Cumbria and the Copeland Community stroke prevention project. The project wanted to help people identify potential risk factors and raise awareness of lifestyle choices that can improve their health.
We support existing partnerships to make changes at the system level.
In Worcestershire, the voluntary sector felt like an equal partner to the NHS during the immediate Covid-19 response. We facilitated a cross-sector workshop to understand what was different, and how to make that way of working stick. A clear set of actions was developed – from joint planning to sharing office space – which was included in the refresh of the area’s local Long Term Plan.
How to build an effective partnership: In Lancashire and South Cumbria, statutory and voluntary sector professionals have been working together to design, test and deliver improved health outcomes for local people.
Trust, power and collaboration: Human Learning Systems approaches in voluntary and community organisations. This report shares practical tips for taking a ‘human learning systems’ approach to commissioning and funding relationships.
4. Getting unstuck
We support areas who are already involved in collaborative working to address challenges on their partnership journey.
In North Cumbria, we rebuilt relationships between the NHS and communities following the controversial decision to combine two stroke units into one hyper acute stroke unit. People were understandably very concerned: 85% of strokes are preventable, yet in one area in West Cumbria, people were 104% more likely to have a stroke than the national average. We enabled cross-sector partners to identify local events where stroke prevention messages could be shared. This led to over 200 people being tested for stroke risk at community events, with over 20% being referred to their pharmacy or GP.
Talking points for cross-sector partnerships: Questions to use when exploring new and existing ways of working in partnership at Integrated Care Partnership level, with the aim of finding out more about what things look like now, what can be learned and what needs to be changed/developed.
A Community Action Network in West End, Morecambe Bay: Set up to improve local lives through sharing resources, seeking investment, supporting each other, and involving local people in the conversations and decisions that affect them.
12 steps to embedding social value priorities: A tried and tested framework for commissioning authorities, VCSEs and service users to agree and implement social value priorities in health and care commissioning.
Meet some of the people who help to connect health communities.
We are from the kinds of organisations and communities that we seek to serve. Having worked in and around the voluntary sector as volunteers, paid staff, leaders, trustees, teachers and researchers – we understand and care about the distinctiveness and independence of the sector.