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Health and wellbeing are profoundly shaped by what happens in places and communities and by how the services operating in a place interconnect. The Covid-19 pandemic provided a clear illustration of the importance of close partnership-working in local places between health and care organisations, local government and others, and also underlined the vital role played by communities and the voluntary and community sector in supporting health and wellbeing.

What do we want to achieve?

The purpose of our work on healthier places and communities is to support effective place-based working that leads to improved health and wellbeing. Place-based working means working together to ensure local people benefit from approaches that draw on the full range of resources available in a place – including public services, voluntary, community and social enterprise (VCSE) sector organisations, and the strengths and assets of communities themselves.

The programme will work to achieve change including:

  • communities having more power to drive improvements in the health and care outcomes that matter most to them

  • better partnership-working and alignment between local authorities, the NHS and the voluntary and community sector – allowing local needs to be met in a more co-ordinated way

  • national policies, regulatory structures and funding flows designed in a way that reinforces effective place-based working.

What will the programme focus on?

In 2024, we will work to:

  • support local leaders to develop effective place-based partnerships, integrated care systems and primary care networks

  • enable successful implementation of the reforms introduced by the 2022 Health and Care Act, including promoting collaborative leadership

  • ensure that local government, VCSE organisations and other partners are a core part of integrated care systems

  • help health and care organisations become better equipped to work with communities and learn from community insights.

Resources and key projects

  • Integrated care systems explained

    Integrated care services represent a fundamental shift in the way the health and care system is organised. This explainer looks at how these bodies are structured, how they are developin...

  • Leadership for Population Health

    Find support working strategically with partners from across the health and care system as you improve the health of your local population.

  • Lessons from the Wigan Deal

    The Wigan Deal is a social contract between the council and the community. This project examined how and why the Deal was developed, how it has been put into practice, and what others mi...

  • Healthy communities together – embarking on a journey of partnership working

    The Healthy communities together programme was set up by The King's Fund and The National Lottery Community Fund in 2019 and supports local partnership working to improve the health and ...

Contact us to find out more about this work

See our other priorities

  • Foundations of health and care

    'The foundations of health and care' is one of our strategic priorities. We'll provide analysis, explain key issues and the landscape of the health and care system.

  • Supporting people and leaders

    The aim of this programme is to create a healthier, more inclusive and effective health and care workforce.

  • Tackling the worst health outcomes

    The programme will work with people with lived experience, communities and services to improve health and care for people with the worst health outcomes in England.