Introduction to the first-partnership assembly

A letter from Chair Alan Yates

Dear Colleague

Thank you for agreeing to attend the Partnership Assembly arranged for 17th September. I am delighted by the range and breadth of colleagues we will have at the meeting. We should all be able to contribute to and benefit from the meeting.

I thought it might be helpful to explain a little more fully why we are having this meeting now and why we have chosen Place as the basis of our discussion.

There is a great deal of important, urgent and good work going on in our partner organisations at the moment and the next short while is expected to be particularly arduous. We are all working to try to restore as far as possible the level of service the public expect of us, we are working too to prepare for a potential second wave of COVID-19 and it coinciding with other increased demand. The third major dimension of our work at the moment is to transform our services on the basis of what we have learned from our recent experience and pre-existing plans which were delayed as a result of the pandemic. This is a strategic endeavour and if we don’t give that emphasis now some of the potential benefits for our citizens may slip through our fingers.

Since the inception of the Partnership, Place has always been a foundational constituency in health and care but I think we have an appetite now to go further and faster. The importance of integration at Place has been re-enforced by our experience over the last few months where we have seen our residents benefit from the lowering of barriers between organisations. We have benefitted greatly from the work of Local Resilience Forums and the Partnership Coordination Group. Our ambitions for systematic whole-system partnership working have increased.

In this context the Partnership and the Partners need to find the best way to support, nurture and contribute to Place based integration achieving its full potential. That’s the fundamental thing we will be discussing at the Assembly meeting.

In all that is going on, it can be difficult to be strategic as well as operational. The Partnership is a body committed to transformation and sustainability: building out from integrated commissioning and provision at Place will be fundamental.

There are many other things we will benefit from discussing in time and the choice of Place as our discussion topic does not diminish their importance: what lessons we are learning from COVID-19 more widely; how to overcome decade long effects of austerity particularly on local authority services, the NHS “Phase 3 letter” concerning recovery; supporting Primary Care Networks to become a consistently integral part of Places and the Partnership, the changing population health status and increased health inequalities and how that, and the wider determinants of health, might change our priorities and programmes; acute services sustainability; CCG configuration; and overall, how we can mobilise the Partnership to make a greater difference to improving health and wellbeing and reducing inequalities. These are all vital topics for us to address in the coming months. For now, however, the Partnership Board agreed that the starting point of our discussions should be Place.

On the micro-site you will find a programme for the morning together with a set of slides to which I will speak at the start of the morning. The slides are the “distillate” of the Partnership and you will be the judge of whether I bring them to life. I am very grateful indeed to Place colleagues who have borne the burden of establishing invitation lists and who during a time when much deserved holidays were taken and workloads increased have produced introductions to the concept and meaning of Place. You will see too from the programme that the question we will be posing for discussion is ‘What has to happen now to make Places work at their best?’, and the exit questions are ‘What I will do for my Place is…’ and ‘What I need from other partners is…’. Finally, there are some background slides which may help some attendees less familiar with the makeup of the Partnership and something of its features.

Thank you again for planning to be there, I look forward to seeing you from my domestic “office” on 17th.

Yours sincerely,

Alan Yates, Chair