Winner: Barnet primary care trust Project: Awaredressers Contact: David King, tel: 020-8201 4860 Awaredressers is a community partnership between Barnet health promotion service and African businesses in the Colindale and Burnt Oak areas of Barnet. It encourages African entrepreneurs and key figures to act as peer-educators and, where appropriate, supply customers and clients with condoms and related information.


An HIV-prevention worker and a small group of hairdressers started the project in 1996. Since then, it has been developed and relaunched as a network of 20, mainly African, businesses - everything from hairdressing salons to restaurants and minicab drivers.

Expansion required more robust management systems. Clear aims and objectives were developed for the project; a database of participating businesses drawn up; an appraisal system created for the outreach workers; and new mechanisms developed to ensure the project was 'learning' and responsive. Each member of the project team keeps a personal journal, there are six-weekly team meetings and an annual review at which objectives are evaluated and revised.

Innovations and successes The project is unique in the HIV sector. The stigma surrounding HIV has meant that previous attempts to engage the business sector have met with the response that 'HIV is bad for business'. Spending time educating, listening and developing a trusting relationship has helped to establish a true partnership for community health. Awaredressers has also been the catalyst for the development of a parallel project, the Nexxus Project, that seeks to involve businesses in regeneration schemes and help business support agencies deliver culturally appropriate services.

The judges said: Creates a new space with a real impact on health.

It is public-private partnership in its purest sense - there is a real understanding of business incentives and how these can be harnessed in health promotion. There was also outstanding enthusiasm and commitment from the team.

Runner-up: East Surrey health authority Project: Private Provider Project Contact: Karen Bryson, tel: 01372-731132 The health economy of East Surrey has more than its fair share of trusts with capacity problems.

In January, the waiting list peaked at 1,080 patients above year-end target. As a result, the health authority received 29 per cent of the private provider concordat funding available in South East region -£1.3m. The key objectives of this money were to treat a significant number of patients and work with local trusts to get to the root of the problems.

Management A project team was set up and early buy-in to the project objectives secured from private providers. A robust contract was developed through the health authority's legal advisers with detailed contract monitoring.

Patients were selected in date order, starting with the longest waits, with subsequent patient booking led by the private provider.

Innovations and successes Almost 1,000 patients were treated over an 11week period. The project demonstrated value for money - contracts were only placed where prices were comparable with NHS reference costs. It demonstrated high quality care - there were only three surgical complications and only three patients complained - about communication. The project met challenging waiting list targets and allowed lessons to be drawn from private sector management - only 0.3 per cent of appointments were not kept.

The judges said: Impressive project management and delivery within tight timescales. Real impact on a large number of patients. Valuable insights into NHS priority setting.

Runner-up: Ealing, Hammersmith and Hounslow health authority Project: Joint nursing home development scheme Contact: Liz Shutler, tel: 020-8893 0105 A strategic partnership of health and social services has been created to remodel and reprovide services for older people in Hammersmith and Fulham.

Independent provision has been minimal and statutory services were unsuited to modern needs.

Part of the strategy involves a private finance initiative-funded development of two purposebuilt nursing homes; joint health and social care day support for older people with mental health needs; and an extra-care sheltered housing scheme. A third nursing home has been commissioned. Two additional sheltered schemes, plus community resource centres, will be procured separately.

Management Social services is taking the lead agency role for the PFIfunded developments, anticipating integration within a newly formed primary care trust in 2002. A multi-agency steering group oversees implementation of the scheme, as well as the broader commissioning strategy. The HA also led public consultation on the strategy last year.

Innovations and successes The PFI scheme is the first to be jointly sponsored by the Department of Health and the Department of Transport, Local Government and the Regions.

Treasury scrutiny was considerable before approval. At local level, the scheme breaks new ground in its comprehensiveness and scale. Older people have been involved in defining the service specifications and in the detailed procurement process.

The judges said: Impressive scope and a truly whole-systems approach. User involvement was built in throughout the procurement process, and there has been a brave attempt to incorporate quality measures into a PFI contract. Also a good demonstration of multi-agency working.