This is the story of the GM Moving Journey up to September 2018.
Early last year we commissioned an innovative team of researchers (the Revaluation Collective) to help us capture the story of GM Moving to date, because we knew that there had been so much value and learning over the last three years – and we did not want to lose it.
The research took the form of collective storytelling, leading to collective sense-making. Each of 15 system leaders from GM and beyond[i], who had played a pivotal role on the journey was interviewed to capture their individual accounts of what happened and how. The Revaluation team then weaved the facts of the stories together to create a single chronological account of the journey, and draw out the narrative about the value of GM Moving that went with the facts.
The resulting storyline is retold here: it shows that how the leaders in this work have been laying the road together as we have travelled. It also suggests that the value is in, and has flowed from, the ways of working we have established – these are spelt out at the end of the story as a set of ‘Pointers for Leadership Practice’.
In addition, people working in other places ask about the journey Greater Manchester Moving has been on so far and what we have learnt; whether about challenging inactivity or in wider system leadership on other agendas.
What follows is our story so far; other places will have their own stories.
What is important, in sharing our journey, is that it there is no ‘should‘ for every place. All we can share is what we did, based on where we started from.
Every place, its circumstances and conditions are different. Those leading in each place will use their own judgement and take what they want from our story, before reinterpreting it as part of their own journey.
One of the things we found out is that ‘ticking boxes’ is not success to us. We need long term, sustainable change, across the Greater Manchester population, and to reduce our activity and health inequalities. In our transformational change we are envisioning something different that is not necessarily an end state but is continually evolving and developing. We are trying to create the conditions for success, and these take time to come to fruition. We are working at multiple levels and breakthroughs sometimes come from unexpected places.
The question of success depends what you place value on. As a speaker at a recent Public Service Reform event in Greater Manchester said, we need to measure what matters, otherwise;
“There is a danger that we may meet the target, but miss the point”.
Similar learning is emerging in the Sport England Local Delivery pilots across the country; ‘’not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts.’
It is also important to say that we are still grappling with many questions of our own and are always looking outside of Greater Manchester to see what we can learn from others. It is hoped that sharing our learning in this way, will contribute to an open, ongoing, collaborative conversation with others who share similar ambitions, and are using similar, and different approaches.
There is no single ‘true story’ of any journey. There are multiple stories, and different perspectives. No one can see the whole system or the whole journey from any one place or point in time. No one can be truly objective, and the Revaluation collective have been keen to point this out as they have interpreted the findings and focussed on the elements of stories that held most meaning for them. However, the quotes that provide much of the story which follows are from people interviewed by the Revaluation team, so they represent evidence from multiple voices and perspectives. Note these appear in itallics.
Other people who have been on this Greater Manchester journey will have perspectives to add. They may disagree with, or at least not recognise elements of this story. That is inevitable. We will keep listening and capturing different voices along the way, to keep learning and understanding. The journey is likely never to be finished – so neither is the story. It can be retold by these and other voices, and it is definitely ‘to be continued…’.
1. Where did we start in Greater Manchester?
Greater Manchester has a long history of collaboration, under the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities (AGMA) where the ten local authorities have worked together for over 20 years. This is a significant contributor to the Greater Manchester Moving journey, particularly since devolution.
The Manchester Independent Economic review (MIER), published in April 2009, was a ground-breaking, independent study that provided the analytical underpinnings of successive Greater Manchester strategies for local growth and public service reform. The MIER reviewers stressed the need for GM to be equipped with more ‘policy tools’, noting that it lacked the fiscal and policy levers to build successfully upon the area’s strengths and confront the challenges it continued to face.
Their recommendations paved the way for the creation of Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) in 2011, the election of GM’s first metro mayor in 2017, and a series of devolution deals with Government that strengthened GM’s governing capacities across a range of policy areas.
There is a great sporting tradition and identity in the city region. There was the strong foundation of a well-connected physical activity and sport system, with high performing leisure and cultural trusts and County Sports Partnership (GreaterSport).
In 2014, physical activity, sport and health leaders around the country were awakening to the huge and fast growing challenge and cost of inactivity. The Designed to Move report had been published, by the Young Foundation in 2013 and Everybody Active Every Day (Public Health England, in 2014). The emerging narrative was that a shift of focus to addressing inactivity was required to effect real change.
In Greater Manchester, each local authority Chief Executive takes a lead responsibility for specific agenda across the ten local authorities. Steven Pleasant, Chief Executive at Tameside MBC, was the lead for health. He and Yvonne Harrison (then Chief Executive at GreaterSport) were instrumental to the start of the GM Moving journey.
2. Developing a shared purpose to addressing inactivity in Greater Manchester (Jan 2014)
“We felt suddenly that we needed to bring the system together. The conversation was getting bigger than sport……… So we planned to bring multiple partners together from all the boroughs, across planning, schools, transport, education. There was a partner event. Steven Pleasant spoke. He had been instrumental in getting this agenda off the ground“.
“We presented the rationale for the first time: budgets are shrinking, demands are growing. What benefits could we get from repositioning sport? People didn’t know what we would do, but they wanted to do it. It was a statement of intent”.
3. Demonstrating the evidence of the power of physical activity for wider outcomes (2014)
Following the partnership event, it was critical to win the hearts and minds of system leaders, who were unaware of the costs of inactivity, and saw sports participation as something that ‘fit people’ did and promoted.
“So we needed to build a case for change. We assembled the evidence base….and we turned this into the business case, including return on investment data……that helped us to develop new language instead, so for example we talked about the CMO[ii]’s magic pill’ and such like”.
“And this generated debate…..and slowly the momentum grew”.
4. Devolution (Nov 2014)
Greater Manchester devolution, including Health and Social Care devolution was announced in November 2014. This included taking charge of £6 billion spent on health and social care in the ten boroughs of Greater Manchester. This was a huge opportunity and challenge. It signalled a new chapter, accelerated transformation and reform and invited innovation and new paradigms to secure the fastest and greatest improvement to the health, wealth and wellbeing of the 2.8 million people of Greater Manchester.
“Greater Manchester devolution includes £450m for a Transformation programme to transform health and social care funding across to GM. The Fund is to put in place the transformation of the architecture, for example, single commissioning functions. Technically the devolution is a delegation from health and social care to GM with £6bn from NHS England. But we see that within the round of £22bn of public sector spend in GM”.
5. GM Moving: the Blueprint for Change (July 2015)
“We formed a working group. Steven agreed to chair it, and because of that, people came. We had the lead Director of Public Health, Transport for Greater Manchester, involvement from New Economy, and Sport England… and that became the GM Moving Leadership Group. Over many months that group convened to draft the GM Moving Blueprint for Change“.
This was a significant step forward. An articulation of the cost of inactivity, the case for change, and the shared purpose brought the system together with a plan to deliver.
The key influencers were the politicians and the Chief Executives of the ten councils Together the Greater Manchester system hosted an event where every GM leader and every Chief Executive signed the 10 pledges.
“The Blueprint was launched in the Velodrome, about 18 months after it was first thought of. Jennie Price (Sport England CEO) was there, Charles Johnson (Director) too. I’d never seen such senior buy-in around physical activity, and we were keen to build on that momentum. People had come together by choice; normally they come together around a pot of money. There was no money here, just senior leadership. Devolution hadn’t happened yet, it hadn’t quite landed. But we all got on the same bus to go the same way – I’m proud of how we got everyone on board.”
6. Formation of GM Active (Nov 2015)
“The 13 cultural and leisure trusts across Greater Manchester responded to the opportunities of devolution and GM Moving, in an unprecedented move to collaborate with one voice as one team. They formed GM Active under the leadership of Mark Tweedie (Chief Executive, Active Tameside) in November 2015”.
As leisure providers, there was an understanding from the member organisations of the key role they should play in Greater Manchester devolution and in particular health and social care transformation through their existing assets and role as prime deliverers and facilitators of physical activity in localities, communities and neighbourhoods. There was also a recognition that to develop this role and scale up best practice and learning there needed to be more formal collaboration between the organisations, leading to the formation of GM Active.
Soon to be a legal entity, GM Active is governed by a Memorandum of Understanding between its member organisations providing commitment to working together on a number of key objectives spanning profile and engagement, service development and capacity and resilience all working towards shared outcomes and a vision:
GM Active’s vision is for a network of innovative, responsive, resilient and high performing Greater Manchester Leisure and Cultural Trusts that deliver transformational outcomes across Greater Manchester’s communities.
7. System Architecture and Strategy: Taking Charge (Dec 2015) and the Population Health Plan (Feb 2017)
From here on, there was a huge amount of work to do. It was the beginning of something exciting, but came with plenty of challenges too.
[My] previous experience of sport was that it didn’t connect with anything else. It was filled with enthusiasts. All of them brilliant, but the system didn’t reach out to even the obvious places like health. Physical activity rates were low, there were no collaborative models, and no system leadership for increasing physical activity….so this (just) became a kernel of system leadership.
But outside of this group there were still high levels of scepticism for example among the health commissioners. ‘We don’t do physical activity, we commission beds in hospitals.’ They also said ‘What are you trying to do? Get the active more active?’ They had doubts that the sports sector was connecting with the less fit. So it was a difficult proposition to land.
The critical moment came from health and social care devolution. The ‘Taking Charge’ document put physical activity right in the middle, and it called for a Director of Public Health for Greater Manchester. GM Moving was then located within Taking Charge, and inside the governance of GMCA[iii] – before that it didn’t have a home. Now there was a route. Some authority, and a funding stream. That was a big step over moment.
“Jon Rouse was Director General in the Department of Health and he had previously been Chief Executive at Croydon Council. He had a wide support base in the NHS, and now he was heading up the Health and Social Care Partnership. He sponsored the GM Moving work and linked it to Taking Charge. The focus was on population health outcomes, and on moving money from acute services to community…
[We] developed the Population Health Plan and embedded physical activity in it. The gain was legitimacy in public health, and this was significant…
“You won’t see Jon around much [in GM Moving work] now day to day, but his work was fundamental. So that [we] could go into rooms and cite the Population Health Plan. [We] didn’t have to make the business case anymore”.
- GM Physical Activity and Sport Commissioning Project with Sport England (February 2016) and Memorandum of Understanding (signed July 2016)
Sport England identified that there was something different happening here and were extremely keen to explore the opportunities of devolution and what this might mean for physical activity and sport. They were keen to explore a strategic relationship with Greater Manchester and what this might look like. Working with GreaterSport, an experienced consultant was engaged to progress this.
“In late 2015, Sport England asked me to look at the opportunities in relation to physical activity and sport arising from devolution in GM. They felt it was different from other unitaries and counties. Is there an opportunity for closer collaboration?
In February 2016 we started the process with an initial assessment and review of all the devolution documents. I had 8 pre-scoping interviews to get a picture of how things worked around here. In April 2016 I reported back to Sport England: ‘This is like nowhere else. Clarity. Culture. Devolved leadership. Blended teams…..this is a big deal. There’s a big programme emerging here that we need to consider and plan for’.
“From May 2016 I did 8 more interviews [for the commissioning project]. From this a clear and extensive programme was emerging, involving working with people across the lifecourse, in place based contexts and with workforces across the board. Given the size and scope of the potential programme I recommended the early appointment of a Strategic Manager to help realise all of this potential.
We held a big event in GM, a high level summit with Local Authority cabinet members and other leaders to get their buy-in. We ran two sessions, both with William Bird. Hundreds of people came. Momentum was high.
In terms of the strategic relationship between Sport England and Greater Manchester, the suggestion for a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the two came early in the project. It was developed and signed within a three month period.
“I interviewed Steven Pleasant and the MoU concept emerged from there, as GM and Sport England both had a history of developing such approaches to collaborative working…
The MoU was developed, then launched and signed by key strategic leaders including Jennie Price (Sport England CEO), in July 2016. It was the first of its kind in the country”.
“The MoU was a factor not a driver and it’s because of the MoU that we have Hayley [GM Moving Strategic Manager] in post. It was a particular moment in time. And Sport England don’t have many MoU’s. It’s helpful because it suggests longevity of commitment. It was also helpful for the Local Delivery Pilot process, as we knew a lot about what we wanted and how we were going to design it.”
The MoU was launched alongside Sport England’s new strategy in July 2016
“It took a lot of work to get the legal approval. It tested the development of our relationships. It became a marker in the sand….. The relationships were more important than the words”.
“MoUs make shared commitments, and often these refer to different ways of working beyond the bog standard. MoUs are about intentions more than the specifics. Therefore it can be hard to say whether they have an impact on delivery: that’s not really the point”.
“We want Sport England to be really excited about working in GM. There’s so much potential here in terms of population and governance, and a group of [Local Authorities] with a history of working together”.
“Devolution has brought loads of MoUs. The devolution of health and social care in its entirety is based on an MoU. The February 2015 Devolution Deal is in fact, an MoU, though elements of that have been slower than we would like. Changing ways of working is a lot more complex [than developing the MoU itself]”.
“It involves culture change and system change, which goes with the desire to do differently…..Things have been signed, there’s intent on all sides. But behind the signatories are systems”.
“Change is more complex and time consuming than the signing of an MoU…..The MoUs remain useful; you can check back. In any change process people need to look back to see where they’re going. But the work is much broader, that’s the hard work. It’s not ‘hoorah, we’ve all signed and everything’s going to be different from here on’”.
The commissioning work left an agreed joint action plan between Greater Manchester and Sport England in July 2016. There was a need for a team in place for the MoU and for GM Moving. That started with the Strategic Manager post, which took some time to develop, and started in April 2017.
9. Physical Activity prioritised in Greater Manchester Mayoral Manifesto (May 2017)
“We started engaging politicians, with an offer to all] the mayoral candidates including Andy Burnham. It was all very tactical; relationships based on networking. People work with people they can get on with…
So [Andy Burnham moved] in our direction… the opportunity was to take the GM Moving Blueprint and frame the offer around that. We wouldn’t have to be starting again from scratch. He was happy…so long as we could bring in people’s views. We facilitated a stakeholder event based on insight and engaged the system…
Andy campaigned on increasing physical activity, and on having a Walking and Cycling Commissioner”.
“Suddenly we had high-level backing for [our] agenda, it was locked in and this was taking it up another notch. And [in May], Andy became Mayor. Once he was elected, we sat down to flesh it out with him”.
The Mayor’s ambition for, and commitment to the physical activity and sport agenda is second to none. From May 2017, GM Moving was taken to a new level.
10. GM Moving Plan Launched (July 2017)
The new role, Strategic Manager, for GM Moving, was born out of the Commissioning Project Action Plan and MOU, as described above. Hayley Lever started in the role in April 2017.
Between April and the election of Andy Burnham to the mayoral role in May, it became clear that a refresh of GM Moving was needed. So much had progressed since 2015; Taking Charge, the Population Health Plan, The Mayoral Manifesto and other significant developments.
By July 2017, the whole system had co-produced a new GM Moving Plan. Leaders from every part of the system made their contribution in response to the question; what would it take to bring about population scale change in physical activity engagement here… in your part of the system?
Spatial planners, clinicians, active travel experts, headteachers, early years specialists, physical activity leads and many more across the system, wrote the GM Moving Refresh, over a two month period, to a comprehensive plan to deliver an ambitious target, set by the Mayor.
The GM Moving refresh was launched in July 2017. It set out the principles by which Greater Manchester would lead this work, and an approach to transformational change, with whole system approach at its heart. GM Moving has embodied and built on principles that were already there, for instance in Taking Charge. It hasn’t invented a totally new approach. It aligned with principles of reform in Greater Manchester.
Person and community centred, GM Moving set out the priority actions to address inactivity, increase engagement in physical activity and sport at each stage of the life course, from early years to older age.
It also set out the priority actions for ‘place’ including the built environment, natural capital, walking and cycling infrastructure.
A big ambition was set out to develop skilled advocates, clinicians and practitioners across the system. The widest possible workforce including primary and secondary care, planning, transport engineering, education, community and voluntary sector and physical activity and sport providers are included.
All of this was underpinned by the evidence base, in an insight led approach; understanding people and communities, engaging effectively through marketing and communications and campaigns.
Finally, the implementation of GM Moving was set out as a learning journey. This whole system approach to population scale change hasn’t yet been achieved anywhere. Greater Manchester’s aim was to help create the evidence base that doesn’t exist yet. Evaluation of impact, outcomes and process would be vital.
GM Moving 2017-21 was launched at the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership Board and Greater Manchester Combined Authority meetings in central Manchester, by Lord Peter Smith and Andy Burnham.
It was followed by an event in the street, with builders dancing, leaders playing table tennis in the rain, kids riding bikes and Mayor Andy Burnham boxing in a tent. It was a significant day in the history of GM Moving.
Case Study: Engagement of the Voluntary, Community and Social Enterprise Sector
“I first came across GM Moving at an early Reform Board. The MOU was being signed and I was representing the VCSE. I made an offer to engage Sport England, and sport in fact, in community life and get physical activity more embedded. I don’t have a sport or physical activity background. My experience is in community development, engagement and providing support to community and voluntary organisations. I didn’t know what I had to contribute and felt a bit of a fraud in a room full of passionate people on the Exec that have years of experience as activists for sport. So, I was a bit quiet at the start.
When Hayley joined the team as the lead for GM Moving, I was still quiet on the Exec Group but I remember meeting and discussing the importance of the VCSE role in the work. Hayley has also had lots of experience of community development and encouraged me to be more vocal in the discussions at the Exec. I reflected on this and participated much more in the Exec meeting and its work after this point, Sports England and the rest of the Exec seemed genuinely interested in learning more about this and how the principles of working in this way can be reflected in the way the Local Pilots and the wider GM Moving work will be delivered.”
11. Walking and Cycling Commissioner Appointed (July 2017)
Alongside the work to write GM Moving, the Mayor’s team had been working hard to recruit Greater Manchester’s first Walking and Cycling Commissioner.
The day before GM Moving was launched, in one of Andy Burnham’s first live Q&A sessions with the public he announced:
“I said I would do something for cycling in Greater Manchester.
Tomorrow, there’s quite a big step forward for cycling in Greater Manchester. I will be announcing Greater Manchester’s new cycling and walking commissioner with the aim of building a high-quality, safe, dedicated cycling network across all our ten boroughs, getting more people out of their cars and onto their bikes, making air quality better, improving health and cutting congestion.”
“By the time of the GM Moving Refresh in 2017 we could run a session with the Combined Authority and the NHS, and it was announced that Chris Boardman would be the Walking and Cycling Commissioner“.
12. Ambitions for Walking and Cycling: Made to Move
Six months after the appointment of the Walking and Cycling Commissioner, Chris Boardman, a report was presented to the leaders of the Combined Authority and the ten local authorities in Greater Manchester. Made to Move sets out fifteen steps to transform Greater Manchester, by changing the way we get around.
The report was approved by the leaders, and the Made to Move team started network mapping the whole of Greater Manchester.
The Bee Network is the infrastructure plan, and where the Mayor’s Challenge Fund will be invested. Made to Move is the strategy specifically for utility walking and cycling. GM Moving is physical activity more widely.
Together, new infrastructure and behaviour change work will enable, support and promote a social movement for everyday walking and cycling; utility and recreation.
13. Sport England Investment; Active Ageing and Local Delivery Pilots 2017-18
On the GM Moving journey, there have been a number of key opportunities to bring investment in to support the work.
Funding has historically been one of the key reasons that partners have come together. Greater Manchester had started a different collaborative journey, through GM Moving. A shared purpose. A vision, a plan and an agreed set of principles to work to.
One of the big tests is how those principles stay the course when money becomes the focus.
The Sport England Active Ageing investment programme offered the first opportunity to test the Approach to Transformational Change. This provided a great deal of learning, as GM Moving leaders across the system started to use this approach to guide the work on all 12 GM Moving priorities. In particular, we learned that in the first step of establishing the case for change, early community engagement is essential to ensure that we are setting the right course and examining the right evidence, data and insight. Starting with people and communities comes first.
Local Delivery Pilot
In early 2017, Sport England launched the Local Delivery Pilot (LDP) process. Although there was a sense that investment in GM should come via the MoU, rather than through a bidding process, this wasn’t possible, so an Expression of Interest was submitted in March 2017.
“The LDP looks like it was a more conventional ‘them and us’ bidding process. Competitive not collaborative. We often have this with other departments: that they show willingness to change, but they struggle with the processes”.
There was concern in Greater Manchester that bidding for investment isn’t the most constructive approach. The MoU journey had built rich relationships, and there was a danger that the LDP process would take things back to a more transactional relationship.
There were also concerns that the LDP would drive a ‘programme’ mentality, rather than one about communities, system change and behaviour change.
Looking back on the story of GM Moving, we can identify a sense of frustration shared by many of the system leaders in GM that we placed too much emphasis on the LDP bidding process, and that due to limited capacity available, it was a distraction during the important phase following the launch of GM Moving in July 2017.
“The LDP and GM Moving are at risk of becoming one. But they’re not: the LDP is just a part of what GM Moving does”.
“Money changes people’s approach doesn’t it? The GM Moving Refresh was published last summer, and we’ve spent [a lot of time since then working to] meet the requirements of Sport England [for the LDP]. I think we’ve probably not put enough emphasis on what we wanted to achieve more broadly. I think we’re getting there now but I think we got pushed off track by chasing the money”.
Case Study: Oldham visit for the Local Delivery Pilot Assessment and LDP in localities
The Oldham visit was a bit of a gamble as it was largely unscripted. We showed Sport England communities working with communities. It was a very open dialogue day, on the street and not hiding anything. We went to visit the Chaddy Park Steppers: Sport England spoke to them, and we didn’t know what they would say but it was a great conversation. The Steppers were originally a football club but you wouldn’t know it. They are all about tackling loneliness and mental health. They set up a walking group, and recruited volunteers to the football club in the process. ‘Mind’ were partnering with them. We also visited the Ghazali Trust in Oldham with some community leaders. Jennie Price came on the visit and was able to have a conversation with local leaders rather than a bureaucratic grand process. I’ve never got so many people out from London to see my residents. If you live there and you’re a woman in your forties you probably have no work, high blood pressure and you’re on long term medication.
[They] came to Glodwick Leisure Centre in Oldham where there’s a leisure centre that had been shut. The Ghazali Trust took this on as an asset transfer from the Council for community benefit, and not for commercialisation.
The Leisure Trust supported them to develop a gym offer. Sport England [colleagues were surprised that] a leisure trust would support ‘a competitor’ developing a gym offer. But that community isn’t there to compete in the market for gyms……we are place-based, so it should be complementary. The LDP [process] told me that they weren’t in the same place as us. It’s a philosophically different place but when you apply these perspectives on a visit, in a place, these are very different constructs.
The allocation of the LDP investment is the next stage, so that each [locality] has money to work with to deliver. The LDP delivery group in Oldham involves housing, walking and cycling, the Executive Director, the CCG, the Director of Public Health, the leisure leads, and Employers Guilds among other people. And every borough is doing the same. The question is how to go from big to small to big to small, zoom in and out. And then from [Oldham] to GM to Sport England (national). It’s all about the learning and taking that back to Sport England. It’s not going to be a question of success or failure.
The LDP money is not a lot of cash but it’s a catalyst. [I’ve] used it as a mechanism to keep influencing the Chief Executive, the elected officials and so on. It doesn’t matter if it’s a lot or a little, it’s enough to [help bring about change].
“The danger is that chasing the money can be at the expense of system transformation. GM is a complex adaptive system, and massive. Then this is joined to the reform agenda in health and social change, the Health and Social Care Partnership, and then that all has to feed down to locality level. There’s oodles to change. But it’s difficult to ensure that your agenda is taken forward – and money can be a hook to draw people in. In the LDP process, everyone did buy in. When it’s spread out though it’s quite small money, but if you added it to the £160m walking and cycling infrastructure, and the £2m Transformation Fund money…. And we’re only just getting into the local processes with the LDP money”.As recently as autumn 2018, there was still a risk that there is still too much emphasis on the LDP, since there is now a pressure to deliver on the plan. This was still occupying a large part of the GM Moving Strategic Manager’s focus and time, whilst preparing to appoint an small team to lead it.
“There’s a real risk that the LDP could be a distraction. It’s a bit counter-intuitive compared to the direction of travel of the GM Moving Executive team and our ways of working. It’s [could be] all a bit ‘programme delivery’”.
[However] It could be one of two things: one, it could provide more evidence that GM Moving isn’t wider activity, it’s just sport and leisure again. There’s a real risk we revert to silos.
Or, it could show how to embed and mainstream physical activity in the system……that’s the ambition.
“[If we’re not careful] We could end up with all we’ve already had: a couple of sports outreach workers, maybe a way to extend the leisure offer. The strength of the partnerships in different places will determine this, and if there’s an influence on public sector spending”.
There has been a significant job to do, to drive forward the implementation of GM Moving and the Local Delivery Pilot, with limited leadership resource in GM and localities, and with committed investment taking until late 2018 to come through.
However, as we move forward, more people are beginning to see the Local Delivery Pilot as a way to accelerate the wider GM Moving and whole systems approach in a tangible way.
Case Study: GM Moving in Tameside
In Tameside I’m building a £140k wellbeing centre. I’m strapped for capital but the politicians are socialised into the agenda, and we’ve just had a £6m refresh for physical activity. We are [enabling] two parkruns, improving footpaths and all of that.
It’s the GM Moving narrative that drives this. I’ve embedded it, and I can bend investment plans to physical activity – which before would have been below street lighting as a priority.
I can aim for communities who aren’t active at all. I talk to headteachers about The Daily Mile. I spoke to a GP who’s a parkrun practice. That’s not about money – we should change the behaviours and assumptions within the whole £6bn budget.
None of that relates to the £1m LDP money or whatever I’m going to receive. We should get sport out of the box it was in 10 years ago”.
“Despite some of these contradictions and challenges, our funders are absolutely part of the journey. They have worked hard on our behalf and their support, challenge and partnership is a vital component of what we are doing together. We’re on the same journey”.
Reflections, September 2018
“It has been a journey from small conversations to pushing at the door of big institutions, to developing a rationale and a business case, to locating it within the Combined Authority, to winning key politicians and national leaders…… GM Moving is now part of the narrative; it’s where we are. Levering in money, yes but more fundamentally part of everyone’s local delivery strategy”.
“It’s not a linear progress but it is quite splendid: from the periphery to the centre. You don’t have a plan. You start from somewhere. There was enough around in terms of opportunity, a mixture of ambition and opportunism, including the Mayor”.
Lots of our success is down to our ways of working: system leadership, collaboration, leaving your egos at the door. There’s a long history of working like this in Greater Manchester, we’ve been at it for 30 years. The Combined Authority cements that. The door was always half open and we just had to push.
“The stars are now aligned around GM Moving. We’ve come a long way. It was all laying the foundations to here. They’re in a good place. It [was] a placeholder for a social movement. It’s still that, a pulling together of collective learning: behaviour change, ways of working, principles and values. These have been surfaced, and quality standards set around them. There’s lots here that people wouldn’t otherwise have articulated. The risk has been raising expectations: lots of talk, less action, and no money. But we’re ready now”.
“GM Moving is about learning, and at the bottom, relationships. We challenge each other, but we work pretty seamlessly. Greater Sport have been a brilliant ally and an asset. Yvonne Harrison was fantastic. Even with Yvonne leaving, the County Sport Partnership has held it together. The relationships on the ground are fantastic among the people who are doing the work. It is a testament to them”.
“We have to check ourselves sometimes: at this [locality] spatial level, have we got the mass mobilisation we want to see? That’s the big prize, don’t be distracted by the warm words and accolades at higher levels of the system”.
“Sometimes people can’t recognise the health language. How do we create leaders who can operate in this slippery environment: facilitative, outside of hierarchies, and a little bit scary? Moving across these boundaries is important”.
There is a need to ensure that the governance and leadership of GM Moving is distributed widely, and embedded throughout the system. This will further strengthen and sustain the impact of the work, and bring meaningful system change.
“The proportion of people physically active is a proxy for other changes. The key change we’re looking for is that when we talk about physical activity we don’t mean sport. So having allotments is as important as a high-end training centre for elite athletes. Physical activity is broader than sport and has more outcomes than physical health. We can only really go by the principles and ways of working”.
“GM Moving is part of a longer journey but it’s relatively new, and the journey from sport to physical activity is new. That’s what we’re all aiming for. The question is how do we organise ourselves to deliver that transformation?”.
“GM Moving seems to be working for us all. It seems to be broadly owned, as you say. Everyone now seems very enthusiastic. It’s motivating GM Active to collaborate further”.
“Building a social movement for physical activity is the aim – but will people mobilise around GM Moving or Made to Move? It’ll be interesting to see”.
Distributed leadership is critical to the next phase of GM Moving. The ambition, principles, approach and strategic framework are in place so anyone can lead in their own context, be that in councils, health, local communities, workplaces, and people right through the system at every spatial level.
Embedding the belief and advocacy of physical activity across the whole system is fundamental to success. Opportunities to engage and contribute are emerging all the time; cancer, diabetes type 2, pharmacy, mental health, low carbon GM, education, school readiness, dementia, spatial planning, urban design, natural capital…. the list goes on and on.
Leaders across the system are convinced of the role that a more active Greater Manchester can play in achieving the broad ranging outcomes of the Greater Manchester Strategy.
Despite the physical activity and sport sector making strong connections with other services, the prevailing view at the outset was of a service dominated by sport, not connected with the bigger picture of outcomes and scepticism about the benefits. This perception must not be forgotten, and has to be consistently addressed, so that the narrative is about moving more. Physical activity and sport are part of an active life.
Positioning physical activity and sport in the system was central in the devolution of health and social care, through the Taking Charge strategy. This, amongst other things, shifted the focus to prevention. Having people whose background or job is not physical activity and sport as leaders, advocates and champions is essential. It’s a complex system but an endlessly rich one if we explore it through small conversations, build relationships and engage widely.
“Fundamentally we want GM Moving in every locality, in every locality plan, in every neighbourhood model: so it can show itself in all sorts of shapes and forms. For example, The Daily Mile in every school, parkrun [with every community]….”
The movement is growing all the time.
- How can Greater Manchester realise the potential of real system change?
- How can we ensure the change addresses, and doesn’t grow, the inequalities across the city region and in localities?
- How do leaders work in ways that are true to the principles that Greater Manchester has set out, in leading GM Moving and wider reform?
To address these big tests, we are developing our ways of leading, based on our Pointers for Leadership Practice. This will help us to work in ways that will bring about greater change and impact. It will further enable us to live out the principles of public service reform in Greater Manchester, and help us to achieve a shared GM Moving ambition.
‘Lay the road as you journey together’
Pointers for Leadership Practice
Having co-created the story of the GM Moving journey, and identified some of the value it has created to date, the Revaluation team was asked to pull out a set of principles which could help create more of that kind of value in future – in GM Moving, across other parts of GM, and for people working in complex systems in other places. The result was a series of ‘Pointers for Leadership Practice’, summarised below.
The pointers are principles for whole system working. They aren’t instructions as such, but implications for leadership practice, flowing from the storyline of GM Moving to date, and how it has created value.
Taking the learning and ensuring that it informs practice, across the system, is vital to the success of GM Moving, and has wider relevance for public service reform in the city region.
These Pointers for leadership practice will help us to lead in ways that get to the heart of the challenges of system change. We will be sharing them, developing them, reflecting on them and using them to guide our work from here.
The Pointers will be of wider relevance outside the GM Moving system, across GM and beyond: potentially for all kinds of practitioners adopting whole system approaches.
But that is not to say they are complete: other systems and storylines will generate other pointers. These GM Moving Pointers aren’t universal, though they could have universal applicability.
The Pointers have cumulative value: that’s to say it’s not a case of ‘pick one’. They all apply, in different combinations and proportions, at any one time. And that means there will be tensions within and between them. These tensions will be worked out on the ground, in practice.
The Pointers apply to all of us. For as long as we work in the same system, learning together, we are all in the system and we are the system. If they have value, they have value for all of us.
They are very big lessons and we need to constantly revisit them. They are not easy. They are easy to pay lip service to but not easy to live by.
 Lord Peter Smith Chair, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Strategic Partnership Board, Tony Lloyd Greater Manchester Interim Mayor, Chair Greater Manchester Combined Authority, Dr Hamish Stedman Chair, Greater Manchester CCGs: Association Governing Group (AGG), Ann Barnes Chair, Greater Manchester Provider Federation Board, Dr Tracey Vell Primary Care Advisory Group (GPs), Chair Greater Manchester LMC’s, Jon Rouse Chief Officer, Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, Jennie Price Chief Executive, The English Sports Council
[i] Appendix 1: List of stakeholder groups and interviewees
[ii] Chief Medical Officer
[iii] Greater Manchester Combined Authority