Lessons from the Wigan Deal

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Why we did this project

The role of communities in improving health is receiving increasing attention from policy makers and NHS leaders. An important part of this involves using ‘strength-based’ or ‘asset-based’ approaches, which nurture the strengths of individuals and communities to build independence and improve health. 

Since 2011, Wigan Council has embarked on a major process of change involving moving towards asset-based working at scale, empowering communities through a ‘citizen-led’ approach to public health and creating a culture which permits staff to redesign how they work in response to the needs of individuals and communities. At the heart of this is an attempt to strike a new relationship between public services and local people that has become known as the ‘Wigan Deal’.

Watch the film

What we did

To understand the approach Wigan Council and its partners have taken we interviewed a wide range of people over the course of seven days. We visited a number of key sites across Wigan, speaking to frontline staff, users of services, the voluntary sector and citizens of Wigan as well as leaders in the system. This fieldwork formed the basis of a report examining how and why the Wigan Deal was developed, how it has been put into practice, and what others might learn from it.

Key milestones

Our report was published in June 2019, along with an accompanying film. 

Project leads


Chris Naylor

Senior Fellow, Policy


Dan Wellings

Senior Fellow, Policy