Closing the Gap through Changing Relationships: evaluation

Tuesday 15 July 2014

The Health Foundation’s Closing the Gap through Changing Relationships programme was launched in 2010. The programme funded seven projects, which aimed to change one or more of three types of relationships:

  • between the individual using a service and those who work in healthcare provision
  • between people using services and the wider healthcare system
  • between communities and the wider healthcare system.

This report programme evaluation, carried out by OPM, looks at:

  1. how and whether each of the projects led to relationships changing;
  2. how change was experienced by the different actors;
  3. the key barriers to, and promoters of, success.

In addition to the evaluation report, an ‘improvement story’ was developed for each of the projects. These stories are available to download in the supplement to the report.

The evaluation found that changing relationships is about fundamental change and requires an explicit and sustained focus. It is not something that can simply be articulated or aspired to and then left to happen on its own. Relationships do not change simply because of good intentions. In order to be purposive and stay focused, it is vital to:

  • make changing relationships an explicit objective, state its centrality, and explain the rationale behind this
  • make changing relationships tangible to all key stakeholders in terms of what it looks like in practice. Individuals and groups can then act purposively and reflect on their behaviours on an ongoing basis
  • spell out the likely implications of relationship change, and put in place effective plans to capture and disseminate the evidence of benefits as well as to minimise any anticipated or perceived adverse effects.

More details of the programme and the seven projects are available in the programme section of The Health Foundation’s website. A number of the teams have agreed to share their final project reports, which are available on the project learning pages.