Skip to main content

You are here

Doing the Right Thing is an approach to building meaningful collaboration between the voluntary sector and public bodies.

If we collaborate in a local area – with no pre-conceived recommendations about products or providers – then can we help people live better, healthier, lives, and can we help the NHS spend its money better?

If you would like to find out more about Doing the Right Thing, then please contact our national programme manager Chloë Reeves at, or our local programme manager Aimie Cole at

  • The story so far
  • Next steps
  • Our national steering group

The story so far

Why and who? Background

Between us, we have over a hundred year’s experience of working in health and care and lots of evidence we make a difference for the people we work with. But we all talk about what we do in different ways, which can make us difficult to work with as a sector. So we brought our evidence together in a report called ‘Untapped Potential’. This showed collaboration to be crucial to making the most of the voluntary sector, but also found public services need to get better at doing it, and so do we. So we’ve decided to invest time and money into figuring out how to make this happen.

Where? Collaborating in Somerset

Over the summer of 2016, we settled on working in Somerset. Doing the Right Thing is essentially a local ‘collaboration of collaborations’, with representatives of the Richmond Group of Charities, wider voluntary sector and public services looking at where we can add the most value by working together.

The Richmond Group invested in a local and a national programme manager to scope the collaboration, develop an action plan and bring everyone together, including a National Steering Group. We had no pre-conceived recommendations about what DTRT would focus on, but we all want people to be able to live as well as they possibly can. Prevention quickly emerged as a shared ambition.

Toward the end of 2016, we publically signalled our shared commitment to collaborate in the Health Services Journal

About Somerset

One in four people living in Somerset will be aged 65 and over by 2021, something that won’t happen nationally until 2050. Around 44% of people live with a long-term condition, compared with 28% nationally. There is increasing demand for GP services but a shrinking reducing number of GPs, with almost a third intending to retire over the next three years. Somerset had a health funding gap of £33m in 2016/17, which is set to rise to £175m per year by 2020/21 if no action is taken. On the plus side, there are 2,800 registered charities in the county, and many more community groups.

What? Deciding the focus of our collaboration

After two months of scoping, we reviewed our learning and considered the opportunities for collaboration. Demand for Somerset’s GP services is rising, but the number of GPs is falling.  We also know some people go to their GP with problems for which there are no medical solutions and GPs want to provide support, but don’t always know how to.

New services (called ‘social prescribing’ by the NHS) aim to link people with practical and emotional support from the voluntary and community sector, via their GP. They are working well, but are only available in a few parts of Somerset. It felt sensible to scale these services as a collaboration. With a specific idea emerging, we held a workshop with Somerset residents. They were overwhelming positive about this type of service.

While the collaboration had agreed to prioritise community-based prevention, we also recognised other pressures within Somerset, especially around transferring people out of hospital once they’re well enough to leave.

How? Developing our plan

We continued developing these themes and proposed three workstreams:

  1. Build on existing Richmond Group services to make a positive difference to people coming in and out of hospital and ease pressure on the system.
  2. Link Richmond Group expertise and insight into Somerset service and pathway redesign, making the most of our ability to bring patient voices and national perspectives to this work.
  3. Deliver a bespoke collaborative project by mainstreaming voluntary and community sector emotional and practical support into all of Somerset’s primary care.

In May 2017, Somerset’s Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Strategic Forum and Sustainability and Transformation Plan leadership team formally committed to deepen the collaboration to deliver these workstreams.

In August 2017 we submitted a joint Expression of Interest to the government’s Life Chances Fund, seeking funding to help us test the feasibility of an outcomes-based contract – potentially financed through a Social Impact Bond – to roll out social prescribing across the whole county.

NPC is evaluating this scoping and development project and the report will be published early in 2018.

Next steps

Our application to the Life Chances Fund was successful and we have been awarded £30,000 of development funding. The South West Academic Health Science Network is generously matching this grant award.

The next stage of our programme will focus on developing the infrastructure we need to establish our collaborative projects:

  1.  Local community building: Continuing to build and maintain relationships within and across sectors in Somerset​ 

    We’re using ‘community’ to mean a group of people with a shared interest people’s health and wellbeing and a commitment to improve it. 

    In practical terms, this involves the local programme manager participating in meetings and events with staff from public bodies and the voluntary sector, bringing people with common interests together. 
    Everyone is a champion of this work.

  2. Linking local with national: Acting as a link between partners 

    An offer from the national Richmond Group teams and National Steering Group to bring their expertise and experience into Somerset, once local leaders have worked out their priorities for review. 

    In practical terms, this involves coordinating the National Steering Group meetings, facilitating workshops and meetings in Somerset with national experts when these can usefully move work on, and representing Somerset and this work to national bodies, including through conferences and events.

  3. Delivering a collaborative project: Testing the feasibility of an outcomes-based contract – potentially financed through a Social Impact Bond – to mainstream voluntary and community sector emotional and practical support into primary care.  

    Overseeing the tender process for suppliers of the expertise we do not currently have the capacity for within our collaboration.  

    In practical terms, this includes:

    • Greater involvement of local people, professionals and organisations as we move from scoping to design.
    • Analysis of the target population for an  utcomes-based contract to understand how many people may benefit from this type of service and how best to identify them.
    • Further development of outcome measures that work at both an individual level to understand a person’s story and how best to support them as well as at a group level to understand what the service is achieving and how to continuously improve it.
    • Building on our work to understand the common components of ‘good’ approaches to developing, establishing and running these services. [This does not include software or associated equipment at this stage, as we have not yet identified the problem technology might solve and are not in a position to write a specification for it].
    • Developing a business case for an outcomes-based contract that includes financial modeling, based on the analysis of the target population, as well as an assessment of viability for investors. 

If feasibility is proven, then the local programme manager will coordinate a more substantial application to the Life Chances Fund for a contribution to the costs of county-wide roll-out of this new way of working.

Our national steering group

  • Charles Alessi
    GP and Senior Advisor to Public Health England

    Charles has extensive experience of the NHS in a variety of senior positions in both primary and secondary care, as well as PCTs and Health Authorities. He was Chairman of NAPC from January 2012 to January 2015 and was also Chairman of NHS Clinical Commissioners.

    In July 2012, he was appointed Adjunct Research Professor at the Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, Canada for the MBA in Health Innovation and in July 2013 was also appointed Adjunct Research Professor in Clinical Neurosciences at the Schulich school of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario, Canada.

    As an Executive member of the NAPC, which represents the out of hospital sector in the NHS Confederation, Charles is very active in the development of policy in healthcare and internationally, and has been active in advising Governments and international organisations. He also has experience of military medicine until recently acting as Director of Medicine and Clinical Governance for the British Armed Forces in Germany.

  • Charlotte Augst
    Partnership Director for the Richmond Group of Charities

    Charlotte came to London in 1997, after completing a law degree in Germany, to pursue postgraduate studies at the University of London. She holds a PhD in law and medical ethics. She now lives in Balham with her British husband and two children.

    Charlotte has held senior positions in health and research policy for over a decade – in Parliament, for national regulators, and in the charitable sector. She has been a Trustee of Mosaic Clubhouse, a Brixton based mental health recovery charity, since 2015.

  • Bridget Bergin
    UK Director for Life After Stroke Services at Stroke Association

    Bridget has considerable experience of working in health and social care and has held a number of senior management positions in both London and Northern Ireland, covering hospital and community services.

    As Strategic Commissioner in the Western Board of Northern Ireland she led work on integration of health and social care and commissioning for older people's services. 

    She also subsequently worked on the North West London Integrated Care Programme and has co-ordinated a number of successful integration projects and initiatives.

    Bridget subsequently worked in Harrow Council in Adult Social Care, leading on Commissioning for Older People Services and Partnerships.

    Bridget is currently leading a substantive change in the model of Life After Stroke services across the UK, with a focus on Recovery and the development of an Outcomes Framework. These developments are being taken forward in co-production with people affected by stroke and with the support of Stroke Association volunteers.

    Bridget was part of a team developing the Northern Ireland 20 year Strategy for Health and Social Care and was also Director in the Northern Ireland Telehealth Programme as part of the European Centre for Connected Heath. She was responsible for procurement and implementation of system wide innovation and secured extensive engagement and support across Health and Social Care organisations in Northern Ireland.

    Bridget joined the Stroke Association as Executive Director for Stroke Support in 2014 and has led the development of the Stroke Recovery model and Outcomes Framework for stroke services. She has completed a substantive restructure of stroke support provision across the UK to enable growth and development of support to people affected by stroke.

  • Jo Bibby
    Director of Strategy at the Health Foundation

    Jo has worked in health care at local and national level for 22 years, including 10 years at the Department of Health. As Head of NHS Performance, she oversaw the implementation of the policy agenda set out in the NHS Plan. At the NHS Modernisation Agency, Jo led an international quality improvement initiative – Pursuing Perfection.

    Before joining the Foundation Jo was the Director for the Calderdale and Kirklees Integrated Service Strategy where she led a major service reconfiguration programme to deliver improvements in quality, safety and patient experience.

    In June 2013, Jo was appointed a Non-executive Director of Salford Royal NHS Foundation Trust with a specific remit for innovation and improvement science. She is also an independent member of the National Information Board.

    Jo has a PhD in Medical Biophysics.

  • Aimie Cole
    Somerset Programme Manager for Doing the Right Thing

    Aimie has over 15 years’ experience of working within the private, public and non-profit sectors. In recent years she has managed projects for the UK Cabinet Office on purpose-driven businesses and the Chair of the G8 Taskforce on Impact Investment on recommendations to policy makers. She is also actively involved in the B Corp movement in the UK and a Trustee at a community nursery.

    From 2007 to 2013 Aimie worked at The Portland Trust – a British non-profit ‘action tank’ with offices in London, Ramallah and Tel Aviv - first as a Project Manager and then as the Director of Projects. From 2003 to 2007 Aimie worked in the UK Treasury in a variety of roles, including as private secretary for international affairs to the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Middle East policy adviser and analyst of public services. Prior to this she worked as a graduate consultant at PriceWaterhouseCoopers Consulting. 

    Aimie has an MSc. in Global Politics and a BSc. in Maths and Spanish and is based in Dorset. 

  • Alf Collins
    Clinical Lead for Person and Community Centred Care for the Somerset STP

    Alf is also a Clinical Advisor to NHS England. He is a doctor, commissioner, researcher and national policy advisor in person-centred care.

    He has researched and published widely on self-management support, shared decision-making, care planning, co-production, patient activation and patient engagement.

    Alf has worked with others to develop a number of measures of person-centred care, including the ‘clinician support for patient activation measure’.

  • Saffron Cordery
    Director of Policy and Strategy at NHS Providers

    Saffron has extensive experience in policy development, influencing and communications and has worked in the healthcare sector since 2007. Before moving into healthcare, Saffron was head of public affairs at the Local Government Association, the voice of local councils in England. Her early career focused on influencing EU legislation and policy development, and she started working life in adult and community education.

    She has a degree in Modern Languages from the University in Manchester and is the chair of the corporation of a 16–19 college in Hampshire.

  • Paul Corrigan
    Adjunct Professor of Health Policy at Imperial College & CQC Board member

    From July 2001 Paul was Special Adviser to Department of Health, first to Alan Milburn and subsequently for John Reid, the then Secretary of State for Health. Over the four years in this post he developed the reform of the NHS and led the creation of NHS Foundation Trusts. At the end of 2005 he became the senior health policy adviser to the Prime Minister Tony Blair, working at the core of No. 10 to continue the development and implementation of health reform policy for the NHS until 2007.

    Most recently Paul has supported the development of GP Commissioning Consortia with NHS Cumbria and Cumbrian GPs. Before this Paul was Director of Strategy for the London Strategic Health Authority, where he steered the health reform strategy for London written by Lord Darzi.

  • Dan Corry
    Chief Executive of New Philanthropy Capital and Trustee of St. Mungo's

    Before joining NPC in 2011, Dan was Head of the Number 10 Policy Unit and Senior Adviser to the Prime Minister on the Economy from 2007 to 2010.

    He has been Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Treasury, and has worked as a special adviser to the Secretary of State in the Education Department as well as at DTI and DCLG. In 2011 he was a Director in the Economics segment of FTI Consulting.

    Dan ran the New Local Government Network think tank between 2002 and 2005, which was voted Think Tank of the Year in 2004 and was Senior Economist at the IPPR in the 1990s. He is a member of the Early Action Taskforce, the Advisory Boards for Big Society Capital, Impetus – PEF, and the Centre for Public Scrutiny and is a trustee of 19 Princelet Street and the new What Works Centre for Wellbeing.

  • Matthew Dolman
    Lead for Engagement within the Somerset STP & GP Partner at the Axbridge and Wedmore Medical Practice

    Matthew was a Somerset Local Medical Committee (LMC) representative for nine years prior to developing a commissioning interest and joining the practice based commissioning consortia, WyvernHealth.Com. 

    He is the CCG’s clinical lead for championing flexible healthcare, working on pathway design for a number of clinical areas.  He has a special interest in a system approach to service design in the complex NHS environment and has an interest in leadership development. Matthew recognises the importance of working with patients and the public to improve healthcare services and has played a key role in developing the Patient Participation Group at his Practice and the North Sedgemoor Health Forum. He strongly believes that self-care and informed decision making underpin a strong commissioning philosophy to move care into the community.

  • Stephen Dorrell
    Chair of the NHS Confederation & Chair of the European Movement

    Stephen is also Chairman of Laing Buisson Ltd, a healthcare market intelligence company, and of its sister company Public Policy Projects Ltd, which provides public policy advice.

    Stephen was a Member of Parliament from 1979 to 2015 and a member of the government from 1987 to 1997, serving as a minister in the Treasury, the Department of Health and the Department of National Heritage. He was a member of the Cabinet as Secretary of State for the National Heritage from 1994 to 1995 and Secretary of State for Health from 1995 to 1997. 

    Stephen led Conservative Mainstream from 2001 to 2005; from 2005 to 2010 he was chair of the Conservative Public Service Improvement Group and from 2008 to 2010 he was a member of the cross-party Commission on Public Service Reform convened by the Royal Society of Arts. 

    Between 2010 and 2014, Stephen was the first elected chair of the House of Commons Health Committee, developing the role of the Committee as an authoritative cross-party voice on health and care policy. 

  • Halima Khan
    Executive Director of Health Lab at Nesta

    Halima works with innovators across public services, civil society and business to develop and scale new responses to ageing and health. Nesta's Health Lab aims to create a people powered health system.

    Halima has spent fifteen years working on public service reform and innovation, mainly in central and local government. She was previously a Director in Nesta's Innovation Lab. Prior to joining Nesta in December 2010, Halima was Deputy Director at the Strategy Unit, Cabinet Office, providing policy advice to the Prime Minister, No.10 and Cabinet Office ministers on a range of domestic policy issues.  

    Halima studied at Oxford and the Harvard Kennedy School, where she was a Knox Fellow. Halima was previously a member of the Council of the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and Trustee of Diabetes UK. In 2015, Halima was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Health Sciences from Anglia Ruskin University. 

  • Norman McKinley
    Executive Director of UK Operations at the British Red Cross

    Norman joined the Red Cross in 1997 as Regional Director and subsequently held a number of other senior positions across the organisation. As the Executive Director of UK Operations, he successfully led a large-scale change programme across the UK in 2016.  

    Norman is also a Non-executive Director with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service Trust. Prior to joining the Red Cross, Norman had a successful career within the Personal Health and Social Services in Northern Ireland.

  • Liam O'Toole
    Chief Executive of Arthritis Research UK

    Liam has played a leading role in many of the major changes that have taken place in the UK’s health and medical research landscape over the last decade. Between January 2007 and November 2009 he was head of the Office for Strategic Coordination of Health Research (OSCHR), a joint office funded by the Department of Health and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills, set up to develop a more coherent strategic approach to publicly funded health research.

    Before his role with OSCHR Liam spent three years as chief executive of the UK Clinical Research Collaboration and was the first administrative director of the National Cancer Research Institute following 16 years’ experience of research management at the Medical Research Council and the British Diabetic Association (now Diabetes UK).

  • Chloë Reeves
    National Programme Manager for Doing the Right Thing and Director of London Road Policy & Projects

    Chloë was the inaugural policy and advocacy lead for health and social care at the British Red Cross. Her advocacy campaigns included ‘Prevention in Action’, which secured amendments to the Care Bill and continues to support local leaders to implement the Care Act’s prevention duties. She was a member of the Care and Support Alliance’s Coordination Board and chaired their Care Act Implementation Group.

    Chloë was previously a researcher for the International Longevity Centre, where she focused on end-of-life care. She has also worked in local government policy, commissioning and project management roles. She has an MA in the Philosophy, Politics and Economics of Health and was an Honorary Research Associate at UCL’s Crucible Centre for Lifelong Health and Wellbeing

  • Fiona Russell
    Senior Advisor at the Local Government Association

    Fiona leads the LGA’s improvement work in relation to health and care integration, which includes supporting councils and their health partners to find solutions which improve citizens’ health and wellbeing, their experience of care, and system sustainability. She also leads the LGA’s work on NHS sustainability and transformation plans, and on implementating the Better Care Fund, as well as representing local government’s views to national government and partners to influence integration policy developments.

  • Heidi Stewart
    Executive Director of Enterprise & Innovation at Rethink Mental Illness

    Heidi has worked in Business Development in both the private and third sector for over twenty years.  She has led large scale international bids and funding opportunities in housing, welfare, skills, and Health, in the UK, USA and Australia securing contracts that range in value from £1m to £200m+.  As a founder of a mission led business she secured £1m social venture capital investment to set up a business creating employment for disadvantaged young people.

    She was previously a Trustee of the Big Issue, is a Qualified Social Return on Investment practitioner and has designed and developed Social Impact Bonds for outcome based contracts that create social positive benefits.  Early in her career she was winner of Shell Livewire Young Entrepreneur for 2 years running and one of the first Princes Youth Business clients – setting up first business at 16 years old. 

  • Lynda Thomas
    Chief Executive of Macmillan Cancer Support and Richmond Group Chair of Doing the Right Thing

    Lynda was appointed Macmillan's Chief Executive in March 2015, taking the lead to help Macmillan reach and improve the lives of everyone living with cancer and to inspire millions of others to do the same.

    Lynda first joined Macmillan in 2001 as joint Head of Media and has played a significant role in transforming the organisation into one of the UK’s most trusted charities. During her first ten years she was promoted to board level as joint Director of External Affairs and helped develop their campaigning arm as well as launching and maintaining their multi award-winning brand. In 2011 Lynda became Director of Fundraising, overseeing the launch of successful new fundraising products and a significant growth in income. In 2014 she was named Fundraising Magazine’s second most influential fundraiser in the UK.

    Lynda started out her career in communications over 20 years ago, spending the first eight in consumer PR. After becoming a mum, she decided to try something else. She took on a voluntary role at NCH Action for Children that led to a job in the PR and Marketing team. After two years, she moved to the NSPCC as Media Manager, during which time she was part of the Full Stop Campaign launch, before joining Macmillan.

    Lynda, who lives in north London with her husband, son, two daughters and cockerpoo, is passionate about being part of something which has a positive impact. She’s also a sports fan with a soft spot for Arsenal and is often seen either cycling or running into the office.

Featured Case Studies

Royal Voluntary Service
British Lung Foundation

Project partners

Please note that these case studies have been produced by project partners, using wider information than that assessed by NPC – more information on this can be found below.

In each study you will find information about the evaluations and research methods which were fed into NPC’s evidence review – and which were used to allocate the case studies into different categories. The outcome categories for each case study relate to the outcomes which were the focus of the evaluations submitted—not necessarily the full range of outcomes an intervention might achieve.

As this information was necessarily limited to information in the documents provided for review, partner organisations have provided supplementary information to give context. These case studies are not, therefore, independent in the same way as the evidence review.