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Evaluation of Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) and Integrated Care Systems (ICSs)

Leads: Dr Adam Briggs (Meths and Public Health), Prof Graeme Currie (Organisational Science)

The team are working closely with two public contributors with an interest in public health and Integrated Care Systems, linked to ARC WM, throughout the project, including developing the initial project questions and the research methods.

Dates: March 2020 - ongoing


Organisational partnerships have rarely been so important. The acute and long-term impact of COVID-19 will be better addressed by health and care organisations working together rather than separately, and Integrated Care Systems (ICS) provide a ready-made vehicle for this. In 2019, the NHS in England published their Long Term Plan, outlining the NHS’s ambitions for the coming 10 years. This includes the aim that by April 2021, the entire country will be covered by an ICS. ICSs are mature forms of Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs). They bring together NHS organisations, community groups, and local government to “provide stronger foundations for working with local government and voluntary sector partners on the broader agenda of prevention and health inequalities.” Yet strong partnerships are difficult to achieve and often rely of personal relationships. Furthermore, it is poorly understood what aspects of an organisation or partnership relate to what eventually happens–what are the key determinants of success and failure?

Policy and Practice Partners:

This project will involve working with selected integrated care systems and the organisations within them. I will also involve working with experts across other universities, public contributors and health-related think tanks (such as The Health Foundation).

Co-Funding Partners:

The Health Foundation.

Aims and Objectives:

The aim of this work is to understand how different approaches to the development, organisation and implementation of STPs and ICSs impacts population health and inequalities.


Initial pilot work will use qualitative methods to explore the relationships between the factors relating to an ICS or the organisations involved, and outcomes of interest. Sites will be selected using a positive deviant approach. Work will also be undertaken to develop a survey instrument that can collect data on the organisational determinants of success or failure. The success of these projects will determine whether a larger scale piece of work can be undertaken to track and understand health and care partnerships in England more broadly.

Main Results:

Methods for pilot projects are being developed.



Implications for Implementation.

The study aims to inform integrated care development and implementation to improve public health. If we find that some models of integrated care appear to be more impactful than others, then this could have wide implications across Integrated Care Organisations in this country and abroad.