Tracking the development of sustainability and transformation plans in England

Why we’re doing this project

NHS planning guidance published in December asks NHS organisations and local authorities to work together to make a joint plan for their local health and care services – a ‘sustainability and transformation plan’ (STP). After agreeing the right geographical area (‘footprint’) for their STP, leaders have been asked to develop five-year plans covering all areas of NHS-commissioned care in their area. A total of 44 areas have been identified as the footprints on which the STPs will be based, and plans are to be submitted by the end of June.

STPs are important because they signal the clear intent of national NHS bodies to encourage collaboration between local organisations to meet the financial and service pressures they collectively face. The purpose of our research is to understand how STPs are being developed and what lessons can be learnt for local areas and national policy-makers.

What we're doing

Our research will track the process of developing STPs in four parts of the country. The research will be qualitative, involving a series of interviews with the senior leaders in each of these areas.

We are interested in understanding factors such as:

  • how the work to develop STPs is being led, managed and governed
  • the extent of collaboration in developing STPs and the involvement of different partners in doing this
  • the challenges being experienced throughout the process
  • how the work is being managed alongside existing priorities.

Our research will focus primarily on how STPs are being developed – in other words, the process of developing them – rather than on the detail and content of the plans themselves.

Main contact

For more information, please contact Hugh Alderwick, Senior Policy Advisor to Chris Ham: