Step 1: Formation of Collaboration Oversight Group

Each STP/ICS should establish a Collaboration Oversight Group (or similar title) with responsibility for:

  • identifying local health need challenges that could be addressed through cross-sector collaboration and articulating these through the local AHSN as calls to industry
  • considering spontaneous industry proposals deemed of merit by the local AHSN and issuing calls on these via the AHSN to ensure the widest choice of industry partner
  • governing all resulting collaborations

Model terms of reference for a Collaboration Oversight Group are set out in Appendix 2.

Step 2: Involving the AHSN network

The AHSN can help its local NHS organisations by:

  • articulating local health challenges in the form of a call to industry and managing responses
  • evaluating spontaneous approaches from industry and bringing those with merit to the attention of the Collaboration Oversight Group so that a call to industry can be generated if appropriate
  • providing a robust process for selecting the best industry partner/partners
  • An example of how this process might work is illustrated below. Depending on the complexity of the challenge and level of interest from industry, it may be possible to combine the first and second stage selection processes:

Step 3: Project Governance

Once the industry partner(s) have been selected by the ICP/STP, all parties should complete to the satisfaction of their organisations a project agreement which sets out, at minimum:

  • the patient, population or user groups intended to benefit
  • the parties to the agreement – clinicians, NHS/local authority and industry or third sector partners
  • project goals and methodology and the nature of the interventions required
  • the measures to be used to assess the patient outcomes or benefits achieved and over what time period
  • any legacy improvements for the NHS partners, such as improved systems, better data quality, more skilled workforce
  • the nature of the partnership between the NHS/public sector and the industry or third sector partner including any commercial benefits or other incentives to be received by the latter and the assumption or otherwise of any costs or financial liabilities
  • the information governance and data security measures to be adopted
  • any arrangements thought necessary to avoid the disclosure of commercially confidential information
  • any training needs arising for the participating NHS personnel
  • any other factors that would need to be addressed prior to wider adoption

All projects should adhere to local NHS/Local Authority organisational policies as well as the relevant industry guidelines and Disclosure UK requirements. A model collaborative project agreement is set out in Appendix 3.

Step 4: Evaluation

  • Exit strategy, sustainability and evaluation of impact should be planned from the outset of the project
  • Outcomes should be documented and published by all parties within three months of the project’s completion, so that other NHS organisations can learn from and potentially replicate the initiative