Learning from ‘Devo Manc’: Researching health and social care devolution

Manchester's skyline.

We’re working with The Health Foundation to evaluate and understand health and social care devolution in the Greater Manchester area. The purpose of the work is to support the sharing of ‘devolution learning’ both regionally and nationally, with the aim of taking the experience from Manchester and sharing it with national policymakers and other areas applying to implement devolved health and care.

The research team will be co-led by Professor Kieran Walshe and Professor Ruth McDonald at the University of Manchester.

In February 2015, Greater Manchester secured a ground-breaking deal with the Treasury to take control of the £6 billion currently spent on health and social care for the 2.8 million people of Greater Manchester. The health and social care devolution agreement, commonly described as ‘Devo Manc’, sets out plans for devolving control over health and social care decision-making and funding, bringing together all the local authorities and clinical commissioning groups of Greater Manchester.

Ian Williamson, Interim Chief Officer of the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Devolution programme, comments: ‘As the first location in England to achieve health and social care devolution status, we know that there is a wealth of important learning and knowledge to be gained from our experience. This research is critical not only for national policymakers and other areas interested in pursuing similar devolution arrangements, but for those actively involved in Devo Manc itself, with the opportunity for learning to be fed into the process in real-time to optimise further developments.’

Felicity Dormon, Senior Policy Fellow at the Health Foundation, comments: ‘This project will ensure that health and social care devolution to Manchester is analysed, and that national policymakers and areas in other parts of the country have the chance to learn and build understanding of how the process works with a view to delivering more effective healthcare.’

This new project will be conducted over a two year period from Autumn 2015 and will explore questions related to three broad topics:

  • Mapping plans for improvements in the way services are delivered. The team will identify key initiatives in Greater Manchester looking to improve services and analyse them. They will understand what the initiatives entail, how they plan to meet their goals, and set out how their progress can be measured.
  • Understanding policy development and the policy process. As devolution is implemented in Greater Manchester the project team will build understanding of how local leaders achieve it, and what they expect from the process.
  • Describing and analysing governance, accountability, and organisational forms – understanding how they change as part of devolution, and the costs associated with making changes.

More information about this work is available in the associated briefing document.