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Establishing a new national STP Delivery Unit


NHS England identified the need for national co-ordination of STPs to provide oversight and reporting against STP development and delivery of the Five Year Forward View Next Steps.

The STP Delivery Unit was established in October 2017, sponsored by Matthew Swindells, NHS England National Director for Operations and Information, as a joint programme between NHS England and NHS Improvement.

The purpose of the Delivery Unit is to ensure that STP systems and system leaders are supported so that they can in turn deliver the Next Steps set out in the FYFV Delivery Plan.

Wherever STPs are in their journey, whether struggling or flourishing, it is crucial to have visibility at a national level, so that support, resources and capability can be deployed in a targeted and timely manner with agreement across the joint leadership
team between NHSE and NHSI.

The Yorkshire consultancy team of NECS has supported the set-up of the national STP Delivery Unit from its inception in October 2017, streamlining processes and reporting progress on the FYFV deliverables in a consistent way across national programmes, regions and STPs. The initial contract finished in March 2018, but the NECS team has been extended to work across NHS England, NHS Improvement, GIRFT and Rightcare teams to develop a system for STPs to access national support that involves a bespoke system level diagnostic and high impact plan for targeted support and interventions. Establishing a new national STP Delivery Unit


In summary, the task was to initially put in place robust PMO processes and practices.
Specifically the NECS team has:

  • Supported the establishment of the operating model and ways of working across the STP Delivery Unit underpinned by a robust PMO function.
  • Developed a consolidated FYFV dashboard and suite of trackers in collaboration with NHS England’s OIC team to
    meet a shared ambition to have a single aligned reporting format, process and timeline agreed with regional and
    national STP leads.
  • Established a communications strategy and collaboration platform to raise awareness of the role and purpose of a national STP Delivery Unit and engage with stakeholders.
  • Worked closely with NHS England’s Performance team to put in place a robust process for future planning cycles.
  • Managed the production of the NHS England public board report.
  • Mapped the system support offers that currently exist nationally, regionally and across all ALBS to ensure that a STP level support summary that can be shared and accessed all together in one place.
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I honestly can't speak highly enough of Katie and the team, they have been such a phenomenal help in all sorts of ways; their ability to take on and succeed with difficult and poorly defined briefs, their behaviours and attitudes and their friendliness and approachable manner. I will definitely bear the NECS consultancy team in mind in my new role.

Sarah Duncan

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At the end of the initial 6 month contract, the STP Delivery Unit is now becoming widely recognised and its role and purpose is more clearly defined through collaboratively working with NHS England and NHS Improvement teams nationally and regionally to understand and report on system level performance and future support needs.

The FYFV dashboard and suite of trackers is starting to provide the joint narrative for NHS England and NHS Improvement and the wider system, as well as providing clarity on what is happening in the system through a single version of the truth.

This in turn is supporting a developing methodology which triggers flags through exception reporting to highlight risks in STP delivery and inform targeted support and intervention. The STP Delivery Unit has launched a ‘futureNHS’ collaboration platform for its regional and national stakeholders and is developing a communications strategy closely aligned with the Systems Transformation Group communications for STPs.

The NECS team have supported the recruitment of the permanent STP Delivery Unit team and are currently integrated within this team to develop a future diagnostic approach to support STP level intervention and high impact plans in collaboration with STP system leaders. This will ultimately put in place bespoke support, resources, capacity and capability to help challenged systems to progress to ICS status and support the transformation and integration agenda.

Establishing a new national STP Delivery Unit – Case study