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Health and Social Care System Support

Connection, Collaboration and Co-operation

Health and Social Care System Support is a new programme designed to help Local Government and Health Leaders work together effectively for the benefit of health and social care


During times of major change which is driven by reform, leaders from across health organisations and local  government need to get closer and work together more effectively. This new programme is designed as a ‘whole system’ approach to help facilitate better working relationships and improved joint working.

Today’s leaders need to understand not only their own priorities but also those of other local provider organisations to enable them to take a transformational approach. Doing more of the same will not deliver the new agenda. The new system will require more consideration of joint planning at local level, co-production of local implementation plans will need to be undertaken across key stakeholders, and local leaders need to be supported to develop new skills. The newly emerging systems need to develop shared values, visions and ways of working to create the right environment for the delivery of these changes and improvement for our service users.

The HSCSS programme can help achieve this by working with local leaders from a specific geographical area, helping them develop their response to national policy and to better understand how working collectively can support faster implementation of major change initiatives for the benefit of the people we serve.

"The HSCSS diagnostic came at a great time for our health system as we were in the midst of developing our response to the NHS reform agenda. The HSCSS intervention provided an incisive and challenging analysis of partnership working across the patch and has really helped us to strengthen our relationships and sharpen our focus.” 

Stephen Eames – County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust

If you would like more information about the programme please contact the national programme lead Peter Stewart at

How we work with you

The HSCSS programme starts with a diagnostic phase which culminates in the production of a reflective report back to the leaders in the system, effectively holding a mirror up to the system. The outcomes and recommendations in the report are fed back in a non judgemental and balanced way.

Organisations involved to date have been unanimous in their praise for both the approach taken and the professionalism of the NHS Institute team.

"In these turbulent times with the financial pressures we are all under, and competition pushing us apart, then a programme of work that pulls us together is an opportunity that we can’t afford to pass up."

This is how the new Health and Social Care System Support programme was described by a senior leader in Teeside, who recently embarked on this work.

LL4A9535-8034.jpgFollowing the report, many of the organisations involved have been impressed with the NHS Institute’s work and have taken up the offer of further support from the NHS Institute to help take forward some of the recommendations. Our work has involved bringing together organisations within a system for provider development, facilitating Health and Wellbeing Boards and helping emerging Clinical Commissioning Groups assess their organisational development needs and draw up plans to assist them on their journey.

Our unique position as a national improvement body enables us to use our learning to implement this initiative locally. Where we are not seen as the experts we have recruited those who are so we can ensure that the support is comprehensive and really adds value to both health and social care organisations we work with.

"We wanted to find a way to help the leaders in communities embrace the opportunities presented by the new health and social care bill. We have now developed our thoughts into the comprehensive offer of support that is available to emerging systems all around the country."

Lynne Winstanley, Director of Delivery and programme designer.