‘Working in Partnership’ – new report released

Charity Leaders: Third Sector at the Heart of the NHS’s Future

– Charity chiefs work with NHS to unveil new principles for cooperation

Charity Leaders body ACEVO and the Central Southern Commissioning Support unit today promised  to work together to ensure the future of the NHS.

Their new report ‘Working in Partnership’ sets out seven principles to break down the perceived barriers to partnership working between health and social care commissioners and the voluntary sector.

Bosses urged healthcare commissioning units across the country’s health service to follow the report’s principles and work closely with the third sector in the design and delivery of a new generation of health and care services.

The report’s seven principles are:

1. Sustainability – Organisations should seek to build partnerships through jointly committing leadership time and resource to understanding each other’s operating environments and contexts.

2. Transparency – Organisations should be open with each other and clear about the purpose and benefits of the partnership for partners, patients and the public.

3. Joint Vision – Organisations should share their vision and plans as early as possible so that they can identify synergies and opportunities to develop a joint partnership vision.

4. Joint Capability – Organisations should seek to enhance each other’s capability through, for example, knowledge transfer or the joint provision of services.

5. Proportionality – Both partners should be equal in the partnership but should be proportionate in their requirements of each other.

6. Innovation and improvement – Organisations should seek to share, develop and implement innovative solutions.

7. Accountability and governance – Be clear about how decisions are taken within each organisation and within the partnership. Agree how you will hold each other to account.

The report’s framework follows last week’s publication of the NHS Five Year Forward View, a high-level strategy document on the future of the NHS. It also emerges in the wake of comments by Shadow Secretary of State for Health Andy Burnham, who reiterated his stance in Health Service Journal on 30 October that the NHS should be the ‘preferred provider’ of health services.

Commenting on the launch of the framework, ACEVO Chief Executive Sir Stephen Bubb said:

“ACEVO and the CSCSU’s vision is clear. We want commissioners across the UK to adopt the principles of working in partnership in today’s report, and commit to giving the third sector a seat at the top table when designing and delivering NHS services.”



1. ACEVO is the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations. Since 1987 it has supported, connected and represented the leaders of the UK’s 1,500 largest charities and social enterprises.

2. The Central Southern Commissioning Support Unit (CSCSU) supports NHS health and social care commissioners throughout the central southern region – including Oxfordshire, Gloucestershire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. More information available at: http://www.cscsu.nhs.uk/.

3. The framework follows last week’s publication of the NHS Five Year Forward View, a high-level strategy document promising progress on:

– Preventive health care in the workplace

– Giving patients control over their own health and social care

– Breaking down barriers between family doctors and hospitals, physical and mental health, and health and social care

– Integrating primary care providers to reduce duplication between A&E departments, out-of-hours GP services, urgent care centres, NHS 111 and ambulance services

Despite the NHS Five Year Forward View committing to ‘getting serious about prevention’, it did not provide a detailed framework for the involvement of the voluntary and social enterprise sector in the provision of future preventive care. Working in Partnership provides that.

4. Today’s framework for NHS work with the voluntary and social enterprise sector makes further progress towards the ‘fundamental change in behaviour and culture throughout the health and social care system’ called for in ACEVO’s 2013 report The Prevention Revolution, published by the ACEVO Prevention Taskforce chaired by Sir Hugh Taylor.

For media comment please contact the ACEVO Press Office – 07825 894716 or george.bangham@acevo.org.uk

Download your copy of the report here:

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