The potential in local partnerships

12 July 2016

Roots to Wellbeing is a programme delivered by Groundwork in Warrington with the support of 14 partner organisations ranging from Golden Gates Housing Trust to the Warrington Wolves Charitable Foundation.  A team-based personal development programme, it has given more than 80 people the chance to enjoy completing practical projects together while learning skills and overcoming some complex and challenging personal issues.  77% of participants reported improved wellbeing with 55% moving into education, training or work.  According to one participant “It was like being in a dark room and someone turned on the lights.”  This is the kind of locally integrated provision that fits well with the Government’s aspirations around Work and Health.  

But there are tensions in the system. 

Commercial considerations are pushing commissioners to super contract package areas (CPAs) managed by a consolidating marketplace of providers.  How does this system accommodate the complex local relationship-building and the flexible tailoring required by those in need of support? The answer is to turn the existing dynamic on its head.  If Work and Health aspirations are going to be realised, we need to build from the bottom-up.  This means identifying those local programmes and partnerships already providing services and support successfully to people with health conditions and disabilities – or simply those who have been repeatedly parked – and then working with them to understand how to add value by promoting innovation, enhancing employer engagement and supporting working capital needs. 

Maybe successful local partnerships could set the tone by requesting EOIs from prime contractors vying to provide contract management services in their area?

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Graham Duxbury is Chief Executive at Groundwork UK

This blog is part of a series of blogs produced at IntoWork Convention 2016