We know that better partnerships will identify and address need in an improved way and will save resources.

What we don’t know is the best way of establishing those partnerships and deploying those resources to achieve the best outcomes.

Last year London PCTs and local authorities joined forces to develop some accelerated learning about effective partnerships. We wanted to demonstrate innovative ways of working with our communities to deliver high quality, personalised services.

What was the problem?

The challenge was to address common health and care issues faced by both agencies in fulfilling their duty of ensuring adequate service provision for their local populations. We started by recognising that if we tried to do this separately we would fail.  

What did we do?

Senior managers, with chief executive support, paired up to address a priority area relevant to both agencies in their borough. Projects leads were supported through monthly action learning sets providing protected supported time, as well as lunchtime seminars with expert speakers.

What were the outcomes?

The project teams were creative in establishing new partnerships with communities, service users and third sector organisations to shape services and demonstrate value for money. Details of the case studies are available by following the link. Key outcomes achieved as result of this programme include:

  • Third sector involvement in brokerage arrangements assisting personal budget holders in the design of their own packages of care.
  • An agreed joint commissioning model, with management structure and roles and responsibilities outlined.
  • Piloting personal health budgets for adults with complex LTCs and at risk of unplanned hospital admission
  • Preventive and personalised care for all over 75 year olds in Haringey.
  • Improved quality and outcomes for children, people with stroke and so called ‘hard to reach’ groups of the community, reducing inequalities.
  • A single point of access for all discharge referrals across health and social care from Lewisham Hospital.
  • Joint commissioning arrangements set up, with joint posts and shared work plans.
  • Proposals for the development of a multidisciplinary community service addressing needs on the care pathway for stroke and neuro-rehabilitation.
  • High quality integrated services for children and families, combining health visitor services with children’s centre provision
  • A joint physical activity care pathway 
  • The programme concluded with a hugely successful conference and networking event to spread the learning and good practice. 

What did we learn?

Joint work needs strong leadership sponsorship and management support to overcome the cultural barriers within the partners. It is vital to jointly engage stakeholders as early as possible with delegated resources from the main partners. And most obviously, appoint a project manager with authority to manage.