“Putting more power and control in the hands of local people” – exploring South Yorkshire’s ICS strategy

South Yorkshire ICS has recently released the first draft of their ICS strategy, outlining their long-term goals and ambitions over the next decade.

The document begins with a foreward by the Mayor of South Yorkshire, Oliver Coppard, who states that this strategy “is a test; a test we are setting ourselves” – and by meeting the objectives, the ICS will “improve the health of our communities […] tackle deep seated inequalities in health outcomes and access, make the most of the resources we have, and make sure our health and care services support our wider objectives as a region.”

The strategy has been shaped strongly by the feedback from South Yorkshire’s ‘What Matters to You’ campaign, which asked people throughout the region what matters to them about their health and wellbeing.

From the insight gained from this question, the ICS established four shared outcomes upon which to build their strategy. In this article, we will examine each of these objectives and how the ICS will work to achieve them.

1) Giving children and young people the best start in life

The first shared outcome centres around giving children the best start in life. As the document states, “behaviour is heavily influenced by our living conditions” and “poverty is a major social determinant which adversely affects children’s life chances.”

As such, the ICS are working with the Local Maternity and Neonatal Network, the Children and Young People’s Alliance and PCNs to “enable all our children and young people to thrive and have good physical and mental health.” The ICS is committed to reducing inequalities using the Core20PLUS5 framework, which has been adapted for children and young people, as well as identifying five clinical areas of focus for the ICB and ICP, including asthma, diabetes, epilepsy, oral health and mental health.

Going forward, the ICS will develop a National Centre for Child Health Technology at Sheffield Olympic Legacy Park, developing an advanced and integrated healthcare system for children and young people. They will also use place based partnerships, the Local Maternity Network and more to ensure the voices of families and children are heard and utilised to co-produce services across the system. Other actions include building on existing relationships and multi-agency collaboration to focus on supporting families with the greatest need, working with local partners and the Mental Health Providers Collaborative to improve support and access.

In addition, they will join Barnado’s and the Institute of Health Equity in their Children and Young People’s Health Equity Collaborative for the next three years; helping to shape the delivery of care and reduce inequalities for children and young people across the ICS.

2) Helping people to live longer, healthier lives

This area of the strategy focusses on improving peoples’ physical and mental health, reducing health inequalities and taking appropriate action across a range of fronts. This will involve partners working together across all communities to improve the wider determinants of health, such as employment, education, skills, housing, air pollution, creativity etc.

The ICS will do this through a number of actions, including introducing measures to limit hot food takeaways around schools and reduce industry interference in alcohol and gambling educational materials. Place-based partnerships will work with communities to support a “strengths-based approach to the development of vibrant communities”, and targeted actions will be taken towards main risk factors leading to premature death and long-term conditions such as smoking and obesity. In addition, the Children and Young People’s Alliance will work with schools to promote healthy weight for children.

The strategy notes that the Cancer Alliance is currently leading the way with its focus on health inequalities and early diagnosis, using behavioural science techniques and working in partnership with communities, primary care and the voluntary sector. Regional clinical networks for cardiovascular, diabetes, stroke and respiratory disease are also involved in delivering prevention and management initiatives.

Guided by the ‘Making it Real’ framework, adult social care services are helping people “live the lives they want” while staying safe and well in their communities. More broadly, the ICS is enabling early intervention to prevent more serious difficulties, focussing particularly on mental health crises and suicide.

Other examples of proactive work in the region include Sheffield’s ‘Move More’ and ‘Get Doncaster Moving’; physical activity arrangements supported by Health and Wellbeing boards to encourage people to lead active, happier lifestyles.

3) Supporting people to live in strong, safe and vibrant communities

Place partnerships are working together to ensure “sufficient warm, sustainable and affordable housing” is being built across South Yorkshire – linking housing improvement programmes to public health and wider social care agendas. One of the main purposes of this is to align plans to address housing issues related to fuel poverty, and to improve services for those with cold homes.

Creating more accessible jobs for people in communities is another central focus for the ICS -which will facilitate the retention of public sector spending within local areas to deliver “additional social value for local people.”

The strategy talks about “building wealth within our local communities through progressive procurement.” This is about making it easier for potential suppliers to bid for opportunities and to offer their goods/services to organisations in a way that benefits the local communities.

Enabling positive and sustainable improvements is an overarching theme of this shared outcome; working with local people and the VCSE to find solutions to local issues. The strategy states that “an asset-based community development approach is important in creating vibrant communities […] putting more power and control in the hands of local people and local organisations.”

This on-the-ground approach will facilitate a sense of connection between local communities, as the strategy states: “Being part of and feeling like you belong to a connected and resilient community, with opportunities to be physically active and participate in arts and culture, all contributes to peoples’ mental and physical wellbeing.”

Work is currently underway to enable access to green spaces, sports and leisure facilities and to increase access to creative and cultural opportunities.

4) Empowering people with the skills to thrive

The South Yorkshire Mayoral Combined Authority is working with partners to enable the delivery of the South Yorkshire Stronger, Greener, Fairer Strategic Economic Plan.

The SEP sets out a blueprint for local leaders to transform the post-covid economy. The are working to develop an inclusive and sustainable economy which ensures no one is left behind and “protects the needs of future generations by ensuring that these can be met within the means of our planet.”

The South Yorkshire Skills Strategy is currently in development, which will help support lifelong learning and help people develop skills to support the economy. Partners in South Yorkshire are also working together to produce a transport strategy which will aim to create affordable public transport and enable a “shift towards active travel” within communities.

The Working Win scheme has been established to help people who find it difficult finding and staying in employment – due to long term health conditions or learning disabilities – to make a meaningful contribution to their communities. The ICS will promote inclusive labour markets to support people to stay in work, particularly those with physical and mental health conditions.

For more information on South Yorkshire’s ICS strategy, please click here.