Promoting partnership working in the NHS

Developing an integrated Health and Social Care Partnership for West Dunbartonshire

West Dunbartonshire Community Health and Care Partnership (CHCP) was created in 2010 bringing together NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde’s and West Dunbartonshire Council’s responsibilities for community based health and social care services within a single, integrated structure. The CHCP has accountability to both of the parent organisations and serves a population of 90,700.

The challenge

To bring together a host of different staff and services with distinct cultures and identities in order to establish a single entity for the commissioning, integrated management and delivery of NHS community health and local authority social care services and to do this without creating disruption to service delivery or care standards.

Project delivery

In order to ensure wide engagement, all recognised trade unions from both organisations were invited to a number of meetings with employers to discuss the proposals to establish CHCP. As part of these discussions a CHCP joint staff forum was established which became a central component of the staff governance arrangements for the CHCP. Partners agreed a constitution for the forum which took account of different employee relations structures and the need to retain individual organisational accountability and statutory responsibilities.

A communication and engagement plan was developed for the establishment of the CHCP. Regular team briefs, briefing papers and joint communications (which were both written and face-to-face) were provided for staff and trade unions and for a range of stakeholders including members of the public, independent contractors, community planning partners in West Dunbartonshire, wider NHS and Councils Departments, NHS Board and Elected Members, MSP’s, MP’s and Scottish Government.

The joint staff forum was critical in developing some of the systems, process and changes which support integrated working in the CHCP such as an organisational change process and an integrated workforce plan. The forum also developed an accountabilities framework to describe how organisational policy frameworks would operate for example, attendance, discipline and grievance policies.

Project outputs/ achievements so far

A comprehensive assessment of the CHCP by the Care Inspectorate in 2012 confirmed that:

  • Good outcomes achieved with involvement of people using the services and other stakeholders, including carers, staff and trade unions. 
  • Strong commitment to effective partnership/collaborative working 
  • Effective assessment and care management for services users.
  • Staff were positive, especially those working in the integrated care teams. 

For more information please contact:

Serena Barnatt -
Ross McCulloch -