Last week we saw another major development in the devolution of health and social care powers to Greater Manchester.

Independent health care charity, The Health Foundation, announced that it is working with the National Institute for Health Research Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care (NIHR CLAHRC) on a major project to evaluate and understand health and social care devolution in the Greater Manchester area.

The work aims to support the sharing of ‘devolution learning’ both regionally and nationally, drawing on our experience at this exciting time for the region and sharing it with policy makers applying to implement devolved health and care in other areas. With several locations including Yorkshire, Cornwall, Sheffield, Birmingham and the North East in discussions, this could prove to be an invaluable learning tool for years to come.

The research team will be co-led by respected Professors Kieran Walshe and Ruth MacDonald at the University of Manchester which will put our region on the national stage by not only leading the way in devolution, but also research.

This new project will be conducted over a two year period and will explore questions related to three broad topics – mapping plans for improvements in the way services are delivered, understanding policy development and the policy process and describing and analysing governance, accountability, and organisational forms – understanding how they change as part of devolution, and the costs associated with making changes.

As the first location in England to implement health and social care devolution status, we know that there is an unmissable opportunity for other regions to learn from our experiences. This research is critical not only for national policy makers and other areas interested in pursuing similar devolution arrangements, but also for those actively involved in implementing Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Devolution.

Having the potential for improved research and understanding to be applied to our own progress can only heighten our developments at this critical stage of planning and preparing for full devolution powers to come into force in April 2016.

Warren Heppolette
Strategic Director – Health & Social Care Reform
Greater Manchester