Our goals and strategic priorities, 2016–19

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The King’s Fund has set out four corporate goals that show how we seek to improve care and four areas of policy and practice that we will prioritise between 2016 and 2019.

We have identified our priorities by talking to stakeholders, by looking at the health and care environment and by considering how our particular skills and knowledge can deliver the most impact.

Corporate goals

  • Influence nationally
  • Impact locally
  • Valued source of information and insight
  • High-performing organisation

Strategic priorities

  • Funding and productivity
  • Health and care systems
  • Communities and population health
  • Culture and leadership


In developing our goals and priorities, three themes emerged that matter to our staff and stakeholders and make a difference to both what we do and how we work:

  • diversity and inequalities
  • patient, service user and individual involvement
  • innovation.

These themes will be visible in our work both externally and internally and in specific projects.

Goal 1: influence nationally

We will have influenced (for the better) the policies of government and national bodies

The King’s Fund has a long and deserved reputation as a key influencer in health policy. We are passionate about improving health and care and recognise the importance of helping to shape policy at a national level to achieve change.

Our credibility is built on the strength of our analysis but also on our independence. We will always speak truth to power.

We attempt to influence policy-making to improve health and care by:

  • generating and sharing evidence from the United Kingdom and across the world about what works, and what doesn’t
  • engaging directly with leaders in government, in national bodies and those who have influence over them
  • bringing together senior policy-makers to discuss and debate policy development.

Goal 2: impact locally

We will work with organisations and communities at a local level to turn policies into practice, and our work with leaders will build capability for improvement

We want to have an impact on policy and practice at service level – to make a tangible difference to the quality and experience of care for patients, service users and carers. We find the best ways to inform local implementation is by listening to those in the systems and communities with whom we are working.

We will do this by:

  • enhancing the leadership capability of individuals, teams and organisations in health and social care through our development programmes
  • working through networks and facilitated discussion with communities and organisations to share learning and support change
  • producing evidence, tools and policy recommendations that can be put into practice locally.

Goal 3: valued source of information and insight

We will support all who are involved in improving health and social care by being a valued and sought-after source of commentary, explanation and information

Our stakeholders have told us that our role as a commentator, analyst and interpreter of immediate and emerging issues is of great value. This role is built on our independent and objective analysis, our resources and our communications, and our work in bringing people together to learn and share knowledge.

We will build on this by:

  • improving people’s understanding of the health and care system, how it works and how it is changing
  • continuing to act, through the media and other public platforms, as an honest and objective commentator on policy and its implications
  • providing a unique and extensive collection of health and care policy and management resources and specialist information services
  • using our events as an opportunity to educate, inspire and connect those in health and social care.

Goal 4: high-performing organisation

We will work towards becoming a high-performing organisation

In addition to our external-facing work, we will continue to build on and improve the way we work as an organisation – how efficient and effective we are in deploying and managing resources and the culture we create for those who work for us and in partnership with us.

We are focused on:

  • supporting our people – attracting the best, developing staff to achieve their potential, creating a positive culture and demonstrating effective leadership
  • achieving high standards of performance, quality and customer service, underpinned by effective systems and processes; developing our understanding of how we assess and evidence our own impact
  • managing our resources and building a sustainable future – supplementing our endowment by generating income, particularly from our beautiful building.

Our strategic priorities

Funding and productivity

Changing population needs combined with a prolonged funding squeeze have left health and social care in England under intense and unprecedented financial and service pressure. We feel we are well placed to explain and comment on emerging pressures and performance, and to look for short, medium and long-term solutions.

Our work in this area will combine tracking and monitoring of finance and performance (for example through our Quarterly Monitoring Report), and exploration of the opportunities to improve productivity and value for service users and taxpayers. We will continue to make the case for a sustainable long-term funding settlement for health and care. We want to do more work to connect our research with our leadership development work – supporting leaders to develop the skills and knowledge to improve productivity.

What we are working towards:

  • Political support for a long-term solution to health and social care funding.
  • Adequate short and medium-term funding across health and social care – both to sustain services and facilitate the transformation of care.
  • Increased improvements in productivity, at team and at service level, drawing on the best evidence on what works from the United Kingdom and across the world.
  • Increased clinical engagement and leadership around better care for better value.

Health and care systems

To meet the physical and mental health and care needs of a changing population, the NHS will need to work differently to develop new systems that deliver more integrated care. Although widely recognised as a priority, system re-design is slow, and all too often care delivery focuses on acute problems and short-term solutions.

We have built a strong evidence base around new care systems and are well placed to influence at all levels over the next four years.

What we are working towards:

  • Widespread re-design of services to better join up care (including physical and mental health services) based on the best evidence and examples from the United Kingdom and across the world.
  • Patient, service user and carer perspective on what ‘good’ looks like to be central to thinking at national and local levels.
  • The policy and regulatory barriers to more joined-up and effective systems of care to be addressed.
  • An increase in the number of leaders with the skills and capability to lead in a collaborative way across systems of care.

Communities and population health

The importance of the wider determinants of health, and the role that community bodies can play in supporting and delivering health are not always recognised.

Building on a growing body of work, we are well placed to develop the evidence base and tools for policy-makers and community bodies (voluntary organisations, local authorities, housing associations and others) to use to support a focus on the health of whole populations.

What we are working towards:

  • A shift in debate and policy from integrated care towards population health.
  • The government to assess the impact of its policies (not just health) on health and health inequalities and adapt their implementation in response to this.
  • The contribution that individuals, communities, and volunteers make to population health to be fully recognised, supported and, where appropriate, integrated with public services.
  • Local policy and practice to be evidence based and resources directed towards cost-effective prevention, delivered through integrated models of care, including services beyond traditional health and care.

Culture and leadership

There is compelling evidence on the links between the quality of an organisation’s leadership and culture and the quality and safety of the care it delivers. The NHS is increasingly focused on developing better leadership and more suppportive cultures of high-quality care, and we will support organisations in these efforts.

We are working with individuals, teams and organisations and also undertaking research and commentary.

What we are working towards:

  • Increasing numbers of clinical leaders able and supported to take on senior roles.
  • Increasing numbers of leaders able to lead across systems of care by understanding and adopting a relational approach to leadership.
  • Improvements in organisations’ performance and outcomes related to leadership, evidenced by a greater number of organisations scoring highly against the Care Quality Commission ‘well-led’ framework.
  • A strong evidence base for patient leadership and increasing recognition, within the health and care system, of its value.