Building Health Partnerships Programme

The second phase of the Building Health Partnerships Programme (BHP) was supported by NHS England and was jointly delivered by Social Enterprise UK (SEUK) and the Institute for Voluntary Action Research (IVAR).

Designed to support local partners in health and care to focus on the mutual benefit of strong and informed CCG and Public Health engagement with the local voluntary, community and social enterprise sector the programme supports local areas to find solutions to key local healthcare challenges. BHP has worked with over 18 areas supporting transformation of areas including; moving to more integrated commissioning, piloting social prescribing schemes and redesigning Child and Adolescent Mental Health services.  


If you are interested in our BHP work and would like something similar to happen in your area we are now offering a bespoke consultancy service to support areas to address their local health and care challenges, see the full details here.


Building Health Partnership areas will be hosting events to showcase their learning and feedback on what they have achieved with the support of the programme.

Bolton - 19th January 

South Gloucestershire - 2nd March 

Dudley - 15th March  

Brighton - 21st March

If you would like to attend one of the roadshows please email to register your interest.



An update from the six areas that we've been working with this year: BHP Update September 2015

The six areas taking part in this programme are:

  1. Birmingham: Developing an innovative approach to end of life care using a support brokerage model.
  2. Bolton: Re-designing their Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services to improve resilience and prevent suicide. Read about their work here.
  3. Hull: Co-designing Social Prescribing service and developing a city wide Social Value framework. There's more information here.
  4. Bexley: Co-commissioning and new ways of working with VCSE sector to improve outcomes for those with diabetes and troubled families.
  5. South Gloucestershire: Focusing on integration of care particularly for older people with long term conditions. Read about their case study about their work here
  6. Nottingham: This group is focusing on health and employement, their work has been mentioned in this Work Foundation white paper (p.43) and a presentation on the importance of work in addressing health inequalities.

Each are working in cross-sector groups to build stronger partnerships and achieve tangible outcomes in their localities. Their focus ranges from end of life care, to mental health, and from employment to integrated care. The programme also aims to capture emerging good practice and share it to other parts of the country via a practice development network.

The five principal objectives for the BHP Phase Two (2014-15) are to: 

  • Demonstrate that integrated services, culture change and preventative community healthcare are achievable with proper investment in partnership improvement.
  • Form and/or develop productive cross-sector partnerships led by senior leaders which deliver tangible improvements to health outcomes.
  • Raise awareness and understanding between sectors, leading to greater confidence and mutual trust to work in partnership.
  • Place communities at the heart of defining their healthcare needs, and giving them the skills and support to influence and shape the delivery of their local healthcare.
  • Build a strong evidence base around key emerging themes, which can be used to influence and inform future work.

Click here for the first Health Practice Development Network bulletin - March 2015

Click here for the second Health Practice Development Network bulletin - June 2015


In 2013/2014 we worked with 12 regions for Phase One of the Building Health Partnerships (BHP) Programme:

  • Bristol have facilitated new access - via GP referral - to alternative, culturally appropriate VCSE health services for Black and Minority Ethnic (BME) diabetics, read more here.
  • Croydon Piloted a project in two of the most deprived wards, focusing on communities designing their own approaches to self-care and health improvement to shift focus away from specialist services towards prevention and creating strong social networks.
  • City & Hackney piloted a social prescribing model to improve the health of isolated over 50s and people with type 2 diabetes, here
  • Dudley has created a common system for demonstrating and measuring social impact, which makes commissioning a more collaborative process, leading to better health and care outcomes, read more here or watch a short film here.
  • Durham Dales Easington and Sedgefield have developed a Community Health Navigator scheme through to support individuals to take ownership of their health and wellbeing, encouraging uptake of community-based services and reducing usage of primary health services, read more here
  • North Hampshire
  • Bradford & Airedale
  • Manchester has improved access to health care for LGB&T individuals, read morehereor watch a short film hereFor the clinical rationale and advice about replicating work for other under-represented groups see The LGF's BHP webpage.
  • Shropshire
  • Staffordshire have been building a database of localvoluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) services for the frail elderly and people with longterm health conditions which has enabled a them pilot a new commissioning model based on need, read more here.
  • Swindon piloting a new referal systems to reduce readmissions for individuals being discharged from mental health services, read more here.
  • Wakefield have been looking at how the social prescribing model is providing a strategic wayto build resourceful communities, read more here. 


Emerging actions from the 12 learning sites (August 2013)

Update on expert led seminars (August 2013)

Building Health Partnerships Progress Report (November 2013)

January 2014 bulletin to BHP learning sites 

Social prescribing action learning 

Five of the BHP learning sites are piloting different models of social prescribing projects, read this brief summary. On 14th March 2014 the Swindon Building Health Partnership hosted an action learning set on social prescribing, with four other BHP learning sites to discuss and share the learning from their social prescribing schemes. Here's a report from the day and presentations from the learning sites: Dudley,Swindon (Horizons)Swindon (Wellbeing Pilot)South Staffs &Seisdon Peninsula.   

Expert Led Seminars

Each learning site has the opportunity to use a session to explore an issue to do with health and care commissioning, selected to enhance both local and national objectives of BHP, and the development of their local action plan.

  • Social Impact Bonds - Swindon wanted to find out more about how they could use social impact bonds. See Richard Todd's from Social Finance presentation for an introduction.
  • Social Value - A number of the learning sites were interested in improving their understanding of social value. See Jenni Inglis' from VIE presentation for the session with Wakefield.
  • Social Prescribing - Tina Strack from Nesta attended a session in Hackney to talk about the lessons from their People Powered Health programme. View the presentation here

Health Commissioning Improvement Programme

The Building Health Partnerships (BHP) Programme came on the back of the successful pilot Health Commissioning Improvement Programme from 2012, where we worked with four regions: Cornwall, South Cheshire, St Helens and Central Bedfordshire.

The Clinical Commissioning Groups, Health and Wellbeing Board, and Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise (VCSE) sector, assessed the local challenges and opportunities, and provided support across the sectors to develop understanding, systems and partnerships that supported effective local health commissioning. The Power of Partnerships guide uses the learning from the pilot and real experiences to offer practical tools and support to CCGs, HWBs and VCSE organisations to develop effective partnerships to deliver better health care. 

Read the detailed report about the pilot programme. Alternatively view a brief summary of the outcomes.