‘Anatomy of Collaboration’ launched by Collaborate with Oxford University Collaborating Centre and London South Bank University


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‘Anatomy of Collaboration’ launched by Collaborate with Oxford University Collaborating Centre and London South Bank University

Collaboration is crucial to the sustainability of health and social care services, but Sustainability and Transformation plans and integrated care will fail if we do not build readiness to collaborate properly. In a new publication, the result of a partnership with Oxford University’s Collaborating Centre for Values-based Practice and London South Bank University, we set out the key facets of successful collaboration from our‘Collaborative Public Service’ roundtables. This programme was hosted at the House of Lords and engaged a wide range of expert speakers, including Lord Victor Adebowale (Chair, Collaborate and CEO, Turning Point), Julia Unwin CBE (CEO, Joseph Rowntree Foundation), Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell (Chair, NHS Confederation) and David Behan CBE (CEO, Care Quality Commission).

The paper argues that strong collaboration to support better citizen outcomes must be built on five components: leadership, values, infrastructure, delivery and behaviours, which are represented in the paper as parts of the body. All must be interwoven with the voice and influence of citizens. Failure to take the collaborative process seriously will result in the promise of integrated care and joined-up commissioning through devolution being wasted.

Key arguments include:

  • The increasingly complex operating context for public services is a fatal challenge to existing models of public management and leadership. System leaders must embrace an inherent ‘betrayal’ of their traditional roles in working towards better outcomes for people and place over their organisational loyalties.
  • Devolution offers a huge opportunity for health, care and support systems to be re-shaped. But strategic plans will remain a fiction unless the capacity to collaborate across care settings and service silos is developed in a systematic way.
  • Engaging the ‘unusual suspects’ in the design of services is fundamental to the next phase of public service reform. It underpins demand management, enables communities to hold services to account, and encourages the disruptive innovation that is necessary to drive change from the outside in.

Dr Henry Kippin, Executive Director of Collaborate and co-author of the report, said:“Collaboration is not the answer to every problem. But it has emerged because the traditional ways of categorising what we do in public services – private/public/social or designer/producer/consumer – are inadequate in today’s context. Collaboration can deliver better outcomes for citizens, but we need to be rigorous about asking where the ‘added value’ is, and systematic about lowering the barriers to doing it in practice”. 

Professor Bill Fulford, Director of the Collaborating Centre, said: “Collaborate and London South Bank University’s expertise in leadership and holistic system-change added to the Collaborating Centre’s expertise in values-based practice and represents what is surely a unique resource for meeting the values challenges identified in the report in delivering collaborative public services. We are excited to be working together collaboratively to create something genuinely new”.

Anyone interested in this programme should contact Henry Kippin athenry@collaboratei.com.

Join the debate on twitter using #anatomyofcollaboration.

To read the report, please click here.

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