What do AHPs and Third Sector Organisations have in common? COPRODUCTION

LogoThe ALLIANCE is the national third sector intermediary for a range of health and social care organisations.

We have a growing membership that includes large, national support providers as well as small, local volunteer-led groups and people who are disabled, living with long term conditions or providing unpaid care.

The philosophy of the ALLIANCE and its programmes are underpinned by the principles of co-production as defined by the New Economics Foundation.

Co-production describes the relationship between those who provide services and those who use them drawing on their combined knowledge, abilities and resources to develop joint solutions which achieve better health and well-being outcomes for people and improve service efficiency.

Effective co-production re-balances the traditional scales of power between providers and users; with health and care institutions and professionals ceding power and citizens being empowered to fully engage and participate in decisions about their own care, including self-management.

The National Delivery Plan for the Allied Health Professions in Scotland, 2012–2015 noted:

“Scotland’s AHPs are already working at the leading edge of a paradigmatic shift in the public sector towards enablement and personalisation, promoting an asset-based approach, self-management, resilience and independent living and preventing over-reliance on hospitals and professional intervention”.

Clearly, the principles of coproduction resonate with the values and beliefs of Allied Health professionals.

The ‘Exploring New Ways of Working’ Framework is a key example of AHP’s working collaboratively with their third sector colleagues to improve outcomes for people.

Exploring New WaysThe framework was developed after a ‘Good Conversations’ workshop, delivered by the Thistle Foundation.

ALLIANCE team members attended alongside AHP colleagues.  It was recognised that there were many similarities in the ambitions of third sector organisations and AHP’s, and that there may be benefit in bringing them together to support Health & Social care Integration.

Integration of Health and Social Care in Scotland has created exciting opportunities for our Allied Health Professionals whilst concurrently presenting challenges as we aim to provide safe, quality and person-centred services to the local populations amidst this period of structural change and financial challenges.

National strategy emphasise that statutory bodies and Third Sector Organisations should work cohesively. Despite this the co-design of health and social care solutions is not routine.

Individual systems are complex and difficult to navigate; consequently, the integration of multiple systems has the potential to create further chaos and confusion.

Multiple SystemsObserving our multiple systems, the framework was developed to create a space that aimed to:

  • Support the co- design of new ways of working across health, social care and the third sector to improve health and well-being outcomes
  • Identify and progress local multi-agency projects that supported local strategic plans
  • Increase awareness of local and national resources that support health and well-being
  • Increase awareness of the Health and Social Care Alliance Scotland (the ALLIANCE) and the self-management resources and support it provides

Once the framework was complete an agreement was reached between the ALLIANCE and the Scottish AHP Directors Group to trial the framework in a small number of Scottish Integration Authorities, beginning in North Ayrshire.

North Ayrshire is home to some people living in the 15 % most deprived data zones in Scotland with:

  • The level of employment deprivation being greater than Scotland as a whole
  • 25% of children living in poverty
  • A reduction of working age people alongside a predicted 89% increase in the over 75 population, by 2037

These demographics contribute to poor health outcomes for local people.

Through the co design of services, the aim of the North Ayrshire session was to support early intervention and self-management through establishing multiagency community-based improvement projects.

People who attended the “Exploring New Ways of Working” session in North Ayrshire reported:

  • A 50% increase in those having a sound understanding of the work undertaken by AHPs and 3rd sector organisations within their partnership
  • A 45% increase in those aware of local and national resources to support health and wellbeing
  • A 30% increase in those confident to use a self-management approach in their work

Woodland ViewThree local collaborative improvement projects were identified and are currently being progressed within North Ayrshire Health and Social Care Partnership:

  • Promoting activity in Kilwinning via an info-graphic illustrating cross sectoral opportunities available to the local population
  • Supporting the transition into the community through increasing engagement in collaborative community-based activities for in patients of Woodland View
  • A collaborative community approach to inter-generational early intervention and prevention

“Exploring New Ways of Working” was recognised as a flexible model that supports transformational change within partnerships by IHI at its International Conference in Amsterdam in May 2018.  A poster was presented and forms part of the conference abstracts.


Key learning points to date include:

  • People involved in the systems are central to identifying, developing and progressing successful and sustainable improvements
  • Everyone involved in the improvement process is an equal partner
  • Ongoing committed local leadership and support is essential for continued collaboration and sustainable improvement across the sectors.

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