The Anatomy of Collaboration

AoC cover1The Anatomy of Collaboration A resource for leaders in health, social care and beyond is a new report from Collaborate in partnership with Oxford University’s Collaborating Centre for Values-based Practice and London South Bank University. The report sets out the key facets of successful collaboration, based on roundtable contributions from recognised experts including Lord Victor Adebowale (Chair, Collaborate and CEO, Turning Point), Julia Unwin CBE (CEO, Joseph Rowntree Foundation), Rt Hon Stephen Dorrell (Chair, NHS Confederation) and David Behan CBE (CEO, Care Quality Commission).

The paper argues that strong collaboration to support better citizen outcomes must be built on five components: leadership, values, infrastructure, delivery and behaviours, which represent five anatomical parts of the body. All must be interwoven with the voice and influence of citizens. Failure to take the collaborative process seriously, argues the report, will result in the promise of integrated care and joined-up commissioning through devolution being wasted.

Key arguments include:

  • The increasingly complex operating context for public services is a fatal challenge to existing models of public management and leadership. System leaders must embrace an inherent ‘betrayal’ of their traditional roles in working towards better outcomes for people and place over their organisational loyalties.
  • Devolution offers a huge opportunity for health, care and support systems to be re-shaped. But strategic plans will remain a fiction unless the capacity to collaborate across care settings and service silos is developed in a systematic way.
  • Engaging the ‘unusual suspects’ in the design of services is fundamental to the next phase of public service reform. It underpins demand management, enables communities to hold services to account, and encourages the disruptive innovation that is necessary to drive change from the outside in.

Anyone interested in this programme should contact Henry Kippin at

To read the report, please click here.

About Henry Kippin

Dr Henry Kippin is executive director of Collaborate. He is a visiting fellow at the School of Politics and International Relations at Queen Mary University of London, and at the UNDP Global Centre for Public Service Excellence. Henry was previously a founding partner of the RSA 2020 Public Services Hub, an advisor to Accenture’s global Public Services for the Future programme, and head of research at an international development agency. He has a PhD from the University of Sheffield and is co-editor of ‘Public Services: a new reform agenda’, published in 2013 by Bloomsbury Press.

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