Evaluation of the Healthy Communities Together programme

Resources 08 November 2023

Evaluation of the Healthy Communities Together programme

The home for all HCT related outputs throughout the course of the evaluation.

Cordis Bright is pleased to be working with The National Lottery Community Fund – the largest community funder in the UK – and The King’s Fund on the evaluation of the Healthy Communities Together (HCT) programme. This page provides some information about HCT and the approach we are taking to the evaluation, and is a home for outputs related to the HCT evaluation.

About HCT

HCT is a programme delivered in partnership between The National Lottery Community Fund and The King’s Fund. It aims to support effective and sustainable partnership working between the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector, the National Health Service (NHS) and local authorities, to better understand and address the needs of local communities and support improved health and wellbeing.

HCT is a three-year programme, running from January 2022 to December 2024. During this period, five place-based partnerships will receive a total of £2.6 million from The National Lottery Community Fund and up to £850,000 worth of investment from The King’s Fund, specifically focused on leadership development and learning support.

HCT has funded five cross-sector partnerships, each comprised of representatives from voluntary and statutory sector organisations. These partnerships are located in:

  • Coventry
  • Croydon
  • Gloucestershire
  • Leeds
  • Plymouth

About the HCT evaluation

The aim of the HCT evaluation is to generate useful evidence about cross-sector partnership working. VCSE organisations play a key role in supporting the health and wellbeing of people and communities, complementing the role of statutory organisations. The recent introduction of statutory Integrated Care Systems builds on a long history of political efforts to better coordinate health and social care. However, despite the range of political initiatives which emphasise the importance of working in partnership, the evidence base around the difference that effective partnership working can make is relatively scarce. Both key programme stakeholders and the wider literature highlight the absence of evidence around partnership working, and the need to generate robust evidence on what works, and the difference partnership working makes in what context.

“I think there's a massive vacuum of evidence. What does effective partnering actually mean? What does it look like? And secondly, is it the right thing, and what's it the right thing for?”

HCT programme stakeholder

The evaluation of HCT seeks to build on this limited evidence base, and has the following two objectives: 

  1. To understand the difference that partnership working has made for HCT partnerships.
  2. To gather insights about the types of support and funding that are most useful to enable partnership working.

The evaluation is taking a realist, systems-thinking-informed approach. This accounts for the complexity of the HCT programme, and recognises its contribution towards change in the context of wider systemic factors. To recognise and reflect the emergent nature of partnership working, the evaluation process will also prioritise flexibility and adaptability.

The evaluation is taking place between January 2023 and June 2025. It involves a range of methods and activities, including semi-structured interviews, system mapping workshops, partnership meetings and observations, and a partnership survey. The evaluation is being designed and delivered in collaboration with The National Lottery Community Fund, The King’s Fund and local HCT partnerships.

The evidence that is generated through the evaluation seeks to:

  • Provide an evidence base about partnership working that supports ongoing delivery of the HCT programme.
  • Support future grant-making, learning and organisational development support programmes delivered by The National Lottery Community Fund and The King’s Fund.
  • Contribute to the evidence base that supports other sectors in the design, development and delivery of partnership working.
  • Support the sustainability and legacy of the HCT programme, so that the investment has the greatest value, and learnings are shared with others.

It is intended that the evaluation will gather findings and assess nuance within and between the five partnerships, to generate evidence that will be used by the VCSE sector, the health and care sector, and local and national government departments.

This page is a home for all HCT related outputs throughout the course of the evaluation. For more information about the evaluation, please contact Emma Andersen at emmaandersen@cordisbright.co.uk.

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