Recent industry trends and technological advancements call for a change in the way organisations and industries operates. Progressively, activities in the past carried out by separate units are performed by a network of organisations of different nature, which need to collaborate to exchange information and resources to meet the fast-changing needs of users and customers. While this move from production to co-production models offers new opportunities, as tapping on diverse and richer resource pools, it raises new challenges. Establishing and managing interorganisational relationships requires resources and efforts, knowledge and awareness of potential partners and an approach open to adaptation, learning and change. Also due to these challenges a number of network managers emerged in recent years in different settings. The objective of such network managers is to facilitate collaboration, encouraging network members to engage with different stakeholders, promoting a sense of trust and overcoming the barriers to collaboration, such as the differences in organisational cultures and the competition for often limited resources. All these changes are taking place in the healthcare industry as well, where new players, often from the voluntary sector, now cover a fundamental role in identifying and addressing the needs of users. Integrating the skills and competences of voluntary and faith based organisations and non-traditional actors in the system with more established ones offers unique opportunities, but also specific challenges to be addressed. All these issues are explored in this report with specific focus on the healthcare ecosystem of Wandsworth, an area where for many years, also thanks to a very active network manager, a number of different players collaborate to improve the provision of healthcare services. Using a multi-method approach, integrating qualitative interviews, multiple-choice questionnaires and network analysis and visualisations, the study detects an extremely lively local collaboration network. At the same time, however, some vulnerabilities in the network are identified, mainly in relation to the role of some essential key-players, the perceived limited availability of resources and the difficulties in integrating very diverse organisational cultures and institutional practices. Findings from the study are used to put forward 11 recommendations to promote, manage and monitor the local collaboration network.
|Wandsworth Community Empowerment Network
|Published - Jun 2019