The Future of The Union in North East Lincolnshire

The Future of The Union in North East Lincolnshire

NELC and NELCCG providing seamless health and social care

North East Lincolnshire Council & North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group
July 2019 - present


North East Lincolnshire Council and the North East Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group have worked together closely to deliver health and care services for the past decade. The organisations have now made the decision to integrate as The Union to create a seamless health and social care service to grow and enhance North East Lincolnshire to improve the health, care and life experiences of residents.

FutureGov is supporting The Union to design a Future Operating Model, setting the standard for the future of decision making, culture, technology and organisational design. Facing unique challenges, we’re seeking to transform two organisations to allow for the maximum integration possible whilst remaining separate entities, reconciling democratic and clinical governance and ultimately, best serving the needs of the population.


Focusing our discovery around the organisation structure, we identified categories for organisational improvement, developing the organisation before looking at service-level improvements: vision and strategy, commissioning and contracts, and data and insights.

Working in multidisciplinary teams, we worked in an agile way, guiding them through a design process from ideation to prototyping and testing, looking at each area of change to begin prototyping solutions that will help us build a 21st-century approach to seamless health and social care.

Vision and strategy
The discovery revealed strategic priorities within The Union were inconsistent and not widely communicated, making it hard for teams to resource and deliver effectively and collaboratively. We tested a set of coherent priorities to see whether these would impact a team’s ability to work effectively.

Collaboratively drafting a set of principles we learnt that these alone do not help with prioritisation. Principles need to be aligned to a clear delivery and resourcing model and to the budget setting process. However, principles can be used to decide what work is the responsibility of The Union and what sits in a single organisation of Council or CCG, allowing for better alignment of corporate change (Finance, HR etc.) with the vision and mission of The Union.

Commissioning & contracts
Inconsistent contract visibility and collaboration means the current commissioning process does not support collaboration or alignment to deliver on outcome-based commissioning. Creating visibility across contracts, aligning outcomes and timing of delivery, being holistic and strategic when commissioning, can enhance opportunities and reduce risks.

The quality of provider/commissioner relationships is fundamental to outcomes-based commissioning. By building the foundation for a partnership relationship between providers and commissioners to incorporate a shared understanding, accountability, ways of working and team ethics, will mean a better environment for agreeing and delivering on outcome-based contracts.

Data and Insights
Differences in the guidelines, access to and use of data across The Union impedes insight-led decision making and commissioning. Guidelines are often interpreted as rules and this restricts parameters for potential decisions. Generally, there’s a lot of data available, though most of it is quantitative. This data is not currently centralised or presentable. Decisions cannot be more nuanced without better insight and insight cannot be improved without a clearer process around data capture, more balance between qualitative and quantitative and improved methods of presentation.

So far, we’ve run data tests including:


Future Operating Model: Beta test
Together, we’ve designed a Future Operating Model that we’re confident will transform efficacy and impact within The Union based on our tests and proposals.

We’ve detailed a six-month Beta test of the Future Operating Model, which is a reflection of the structure, skills and associated investment required to implement this model. This process will encourage further learnings about our approach and enable us to move into full-scale organisational change with greater certainty. The Beta test will take one or two areas of work through the full Operating Model cycle, from prioritisation through discovery, commissioning and if possible, management and learning.


The intended outcomes of the Future Operating Model are that:

Alongside the Beta test, we’re recommending in-depth skills and capacity audit across NELC and NELCCG. This process will help us understand the existing internal capacity available to populate new roles within the Union, as well as the impact this has on BAU work that will remain within the remit of NELC or NELCCG.

This is an ongoing project, and we’ll be updating with developments and results when they happen.

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