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Working together to deliver the Mandate: Strengthening partnerships between the NHS and the voluntary sector

This report considers how health care providers (principally foundation trusts and NHS trusts) can build and consolidate partnerships with voluntary sector providers to work together more effectively to meet the priorities set by the Secretary of State for Health in the recent Mandate (Department of Health 2012a). Under the Health and Social Care Act 2012, NHS England is accountable for delivering improvements in health through the Mandate, which will be revised periodically. The first Mandate sets out the five areas against which the performance of NHS England will be measured up until March 2015. These are:

  • preventing people from dying prematurely
  • enhancing quality of life for people with long-term conditions
  • helping people to recover from episodes of ill health or following injury
  • ensuring that people have a positive experience of care
  • treating and caring for people in a safe environment and protecting them from avoidable harm.

The NHS England business plan sets out how it intends to address these priorities (NHS England 2013). However, it is clear that NHS England cannot deliver the Mandate by itself; and while the Mandate is principally aimed at commissioners, it also reflects aspirations that are shared by providers, patients and the public – particularly in relation to the future health of the population – and can therefore be taken to represent priorities for the NHS as a whole. As such, the Mandate should also inform the direction and focus of any organisation aiming to provide high-quality care or preventive services.