The challenge

The Covid-19 pandemic showed the strengths of Lewisham’s communities, including a willingness to get involved in supporting better health and well-being for all, and the potential to engage in new ways.

However, it also highlighted the impact of ongoing inequalities across Lewisham, and the complexity of local health and care systems, which can stand in the way of effective engagement with citizens and across diverse communities.

Lewisham recognised that for the borough partnership to address these challenges successfully, the partnership governance needed to evolve in a way which was reflective of different cultures, styles, and resources to enable the residents and communities to have a greater say in the services that affect their day-to-day lives.

The Lewisham Health and Care Partnership (LHCP) decided to support the development of a new formal subgroup of the partnership for communities called the Lewisham People’s Partnership to ensure that the lived experiences and needs of Lewisham residents drive local partnership decision-making.

The approach

We developed and delivered a programme with communities themselves to develop jointly how the Lewisham People’s Partnership will work, and how it will engage with partners to ensure all local voices are heard. This included:

  • creating the conditions where all individuals and communities can exercise power equally and make or contribute to decisions that influence the social, economic, cultural and political determinants of health
  • building trust and strengthening local relationships
  • providing people with opportunities to participate by reducing barriers to participation (language, resources, attitudes and cultures) and by working with the partnership to engage in a meaningful and supportive way
  • and working together to do more with what we have – recognising limits on the funding, time and capacity available, understanding from a community perspective how the system can work differently to do more with the resources that are available.
The impact

The result was an inclusive set of proposals which have now been agreed between communities and the partnership, and form the basis for new arrangements to start in 2023.