Skills for Care

Shared relationships and insights: how ICSs can support with building connections and sharing voices

23 May 2023

5 min read

Skills for Care

  • Integration

We hear from people working as part of their local Integrated Care Systems (ICSs) about how they’re supporting care providers in their area to build relationships, share resources and ensure everyone’s voice is heard.

Cornwall ICS

The Cornwall ICS operates around a vision of ‘One Cornwall Workforce’. This vision was born in the COVID-19 pandemic and is now a part of their long-term plan for resourcing and planning across the area. This vision is supported by their Single Workforce Planning Framework which has been created by taking account of the insights and voices of care providers.

Their ultimate goal is to develop a single workforce across health and social care with shared funding and outcomes.

A number of existing networks and forums have become integral in ensuring the representation of provider voices in whole-system planning. The sharing of contacts and existing relationships has helped to ensure that a diverse range of contributors, including those who are involved in the day-to-day delivery and planning of care, are able to contribute their unique insights when it comes to early-stage system planning.

Many of these forums and relationships were forged because of the pandemic. Cornwall has learned that capitalising on the good practice established during the crisis points of the pandemic opens new possibilities for achieving the vision of integration.

Individual ICS leads have been proactive in attending these networks and groups to hear directly from people represented in the provider sector including at ‘grassroots’ level.

This has been an enormously positive move for encouraging greater engagement. However, this is not a one-way exchange of information or ideas. Representatives from provider forums have subsequently been included in planning meetings at Board level – such as the Chair of Cornwall Partners in Care (a not-for-profit representative body for social care providers across the county). This means that updates about what is going on at both provider level and at ICS planning level are regular and meaningful, and people at all levels are more easily able to grasp, and take ownership of, their part in the vision.


Sussex ICS

Sussex ICS is establishing a community of practice which will support providers to communicate opportunities, support one another, and share expertise. For example, learning and development leads from across the sector have been networking to share their approach to learning and the resources they use to support staff development.

The ICS has also identified that skills-sharing across the sector and between organisations can play an important role in increasing the representation of the social care workforce across the ICS.

For example, care associations sought guidance from a consultant and bid writer identified by Skills for Care to support them with writing bids to secure funding for their learning and development initiatives. This skills-sharing ensured that the care associations were able to make the most of the opportunities to receive funding.

Identifying where social care partners may lack a necessary resource, skillset, or infrastructure is therefore crucial to understand how to overcome potential barriers to engagement.

This is something Sussex ICS continues to develop, hoping to embed further the systems and processes.


Find out more about what local ICSs are doing with our case studies. 

Learning more about integration on with our #UnderstandingIntegration spotlight.


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