The first-ever Leeds Community Healthcare Trust Third Sector Strategy 2020-23 was officially launched via a Zoom event with over 50 participants on 15 September. You can download the strategy here.

Designed to consolidate and increase partnership working, and therefore improve health outcomes for the people of Leeds, the strategy states a clear aim to maximise the influence and value of the Third Sector in Health and Social Care provision. 

It has been co-produced between Leeds Community Healthcare (LCH) and Forum Central being informed by engagement and consultation with staff and the wider Third Sector. 

Delivery of the Strategy will be directed by a Steering Group with joint LCH and Third Sector representation who will develop the first 1 year implementation plan.

Next steps

The Steering Group will seek opportunities for collaboration in order to inform the 1 year implementation plan before the end of 2020. There will be a particular focus on representation from disadvantaged people and priority neighbourhoods.

The LCH Business Committee will have oversight of the process, will sign off the Implementation Plan and receive quarterly progress reports.  

You can read more about the strategy below:

Key components of the strategy

Forum central will have a role in the development of an implementation plan comprising the following key components:

  • Reduction of health inequalities – more integrated working and co-delivery between LCH and Third Sector to reach the poorest fastest
  • Prevention – LCH and Third Sector to work together in achieving the ambition of a strategic ‘left shift’ (*see below) 
  • Shared policy planning – increased involvement of Third Sector in shared agendas and sustainable models
  • Alignment of infrastructure – development of a ‘one health and care system’ that allows more successful contributions from Third Sector organisations
  • Enabling clear navigation of the health system in Leeds – involving work with other system partners
  • Fair and equal approach to business development –  contracting and partnership working that supports the growth, sustainability and viability in the third sector

*Left Shift

‘Left shift’ is a term for the shift in focus and funding from acute services to prevention and early intervention services that are personalised and promote self management. The provision of localised services – tailored to local needs – is key to the effectiveness of the approach. It is hoped that the establishment of Primary Care Networks will support the ‘joining up’ of NHS community and mental health providers with social care and the third sector. Left shift is widely accepted to be the most effective way to reduce health inequalities. The ‘roadmap’ for the shift was set out in the NHS Long Term Plan was published in January 2019. 

Leeds Third Sector resilience 

Completion of the strategy is timely given the devastating impact of Covid-19 on the poorest populations in Leeds and how the Third Sector has responded visibly, rapidly and effectively to the pandemic crisis. In recognising the strength of the Third Sector to build trust, connect with, advocate for and meet the needs of marginalised communities, the strategy seeks to formalise and consolidate this crucial contribution. 

There are approximately 1,700 Third Sector organisations in Leeds, many of whom are afraid that they may not be able to continue in business beyond the end of this year. The Partnership Executive Group (PEG) made up of partners from Health and Social Care, are focussing on how to build resilience across the Third Sector, individually and as a system. Forum central will have a role in mapping the sector and broadening engagement.

Shared vision and values between LCH and Third Sector 

Reaching agreement about shared values and expressing them explicitly forms a firm bedrock for this new initiative. 

  • Health inequalities at the top of the agenda e.g When commissioning new services asking ‘how does this reduce health inequalities? And involving providers in service redesign 
  • Partnership and collaboration – commitment to effective partnership working, public engagement and co-production
  • Shared infrastructure – recognising the value of shared bases in the strengthening of partnership working and communication, developing Integrated care systems and supporting Primary care networks and Local Care Partnerships (LCP’s)
  • Diversity and staff development – creating an inclusive workforce and advancing equality for staff with a protected characteristic

Barriers to partnership working 

It is equally important to identify and anticipate the barriers to successful partnerships between Statutory agencies and the Third Sector. Doing so adds strength to the venture by promoting an open and honest dialogue and informing actions in the planning and implementations phases. 

  • Navigation of who’s who – knowing who does what, who to influence, how to access services – this applies both ways and will rely on good communication, clear systems and pathways and strong leadership 
  • NHS patient information systems – access to these systems is critical for Third Sector co-delivery but it has not always been a smooth process. The city’s Digital strategy includes extending access to the Leeds care record to Third Sector partners
  • Differences in organisational culture – for some, particularly the smaller Third Sector organisations, the formal nature and scale of the statutory contractual and governance systems can present barriers. LCH have committed to creating a welcoming, more informal meeting culture and to reducing jargon  
  • Insecurity of Third Sector funding short term contracts and not supporting full cost recovery, presents barriers to continuity of service provision and retention of skilled staff all of which undermine quality standards. LCH can use their position to challenge unviable and short term commissioning