A programme of work took place in February and March 2016 intended to bring the Greater Manchester public up to speed with health and social care devolution, make them aware of the nature of the step-change required in the relationship between them and public services, and test to what extent they are ready to “take charge” of staying fit and healthy.

A partnership of 30 VCSE infrastructure organisations and Healthwatches, led by GMCVO, was commissioned to engage and consult with people least likely to be reached by the mainstream campaign. With the help of almost a hundred frontline voluntary and community groups,  partners held 138 face-to-face “conversations” (focus groups) with 1,837 people, most of whom also completed the GM on-line survey.  The kinds of groups involved included e.g. young NEET people, BME elders, deaf people, people with learning disabilities, refugees, people who abuse alcohol or drugs. Groups were asked to discuss:-

    1. Do you think you know what people should do for themselves and their families to stay fit and healthy?
    2. What do you think encourages people to do these things?
    3. What do you think makes it difficult for people to do these things?


The findings of the engagement work are summarised in this report ‘Taking Charge Together’ and are encouraging, challenging and to some extent surprising. For example:-

  • Almost everyone, although they had previously been unaware of the aims of GM Devolution and proposed changes to Health and Social Care, was very enthusiastic about it.
  • There really didn’t seem to be a lack of knowledge about what people should be doing
  • The problems people had with doing the things to stay fit and healthy, and the solutions they proposed, had little to do with health and social care services as such
  • Changes to the environment were seen as vital, using the legal powers of public sector organisations e.g. access to fast food v fruit and vegetables; having pedestrian crossings and benches in right places
  • Social connections were also seen as crucial to wellbeing and motivation
  • Life transitions really matter (e.g. losing a job, children moving away, gaining caring responsibility) as they can have a huge impact on wellbeing both short and long term in terms of motivation, connections and access to time and money

    This report has been presented to the Health and Social Care Devolution Strategic Partnership Board, and will influence the future design of health and social care in GM, at both locality and city region levels.

96 people participated in the ‘conversations’ about their health and wellbeing between 15th February and 31stMarch 2016 in Bury.

Healthwatch Bury, in partnership with Bury Third Sector Development Agency, organised seven conversations across Bury. These ‘conversations’ were held with the following groups:

  1. Streetwise 2000
  2. Communic8te
  3. The Housing Link
  4. Bury Society for Blind and Partially Sighted people
  5. Age UK Bury
  6. Asian Development Association of Bury (ADAB)
  7. BIG in Mental Health

Please see the final report attached below for further information.