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Relationships, service delivery and policy outcomes

John Ashcroft and Michael Schluter of the think tank, the Relationships Foundation, discussed the role of relationships in improving the delivery of public services and realising desired policy outcomes such as wellbeing and social inclusion. The seminar examined in particular the approaches that might be followed to identify the mechanisms through which relationships could influence service delivery and policy outcomes.

John Ashcroft is research director of the Relationships Foundation. He has led the Foundation’s work supporting organisational changes in primary care and developing  relational auditing methodologies, and a series of projects on relationships and wellbeing. These look at how finance and time influence the relationships that are key to wellbeing, and the implications of this for public policy.

Michael Schluter has recently stepped down as Executive Director of Relationships Foundation to take on a new role developing similar organisations internationally. Michael trained as an agricultural economist and then worked with the World Bank and the International Food Policy Research Institute. His interest in how institutions influence relationships, and the importance of these relationships for the wellbeing of individuals and communities, resulted in him setting up the Relationships Foundation in 1993. Two charities have spun off using the Foundation’s methodology: Citylife which has pioneered the concept of employment bonds, and Concordis International whose current peace building work is focused on Sudan.