Alliancing in Health and Social Care Symposium

| Mel Parks

Despite the incessant rain and train strikes being planned then called off at the last minute, we really enjoyed and valued gathering face-to-face for the first UK Alliancing in Health and Social Care Symposium in Birmingham on 8 November 2022.

Not only was it amazing to catch up with people we had only met and worked with online, but it was hugely productive to have conversations about how far alliancing has come in the past ten years, how to bring others to the table, and what we need to do next.

Alliancing and alliance contracting are mature approaches that drive collaboration, innovation and outstanding performance. We are keen to support people to be brave and throughout the day, listened carefully to what attendees consider the main issues to be in getting started as well as running alliances.

We discussed readiness for an Alliance, developing an Alliance, bringing lived experience in, collaboration in practice, shared decision making and making a difference, followed by an open space session. Financial risk was an important theme that came up multiple times, but it was refreshing and encouraging to acknowledge that we were bringing emotions to the discussion and the room as well.

We appreciated the diversity of people in the room, not only from different sectors – voluntary, health, crime, regional and local government – but also from different stages in the alliancing journey. There was a split between people who were well established in their alliances and people new to the idea.

One attendee said:

“Thank you all, and the rest of the team for yesterday. It was fantastic to be provided the space to reflect, think and to learn with others from around the UK. The structure and format of the day was perfect and I loved the open space format, which I’ve not heard of before – liberating and refreshing.”

We left feeling energised and excited about the interest there is in alliancing. We’re using all we heard to strengthen and adapt how we can offer support to more people with setting up their alliances.

What’s next?

The Ideas Alliance will host a supportive quarterly online drop in to discuss Alliancing issues. The first session will be: Wednesday 8 February 11am – 12.30pm.

No matter which stage you are at on your alliancing journey, there will be support available. Email Ideas Alliance to register your interest.

Find out more

To read more about alliancing contracting, here is a link to our Commissioning for Collaboration leaflet.

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