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1.  The challenges of joint working: lessons from the Supporting People Health Pilot evaluation 
Purpose
This paper reports the findings of the evaluation of the Supporting People Health Pilots programme, which was established to demonstrate the policy links between housing support services and health and social care services by encouraging the development of integrated services. The paper highlights the challenges of working across housing, health and social care boundaries.
Method
The evaluation of the six health pilots rested on two main sources of data collection: Quarterly Project Evaluation Reports collected process data as well as reporting progress against aims and objectives. Semi-structured interviews—conducted across all key professional stakeholder groups and agencies and with people who used services—explored their experiences of these new services.
Results
The ability of pilots to work across organisational boundaries to achieve their aims and objectives was associated not only with agencies sharing an understanding of the purpose of the joint venture, a history of joint working and clear and efficient governance arrangements but on two other characteristics: the extent and nature of statutory sector participation and, whether or not the service is defined by a history of voluntary sector involvement. In particular the pilots demonstrated how voluntary sector agencies appeared to be less constrained by organisational priorities and professional agenda and more able to respond flexibly to meet the complex needs of individuals.
Conclusion and discussion
The pilots demonstrate that integrating services to support people with complex needs works best when the service is determined by the characteristics of those who use the service rather than pre-existing organisational structures.
PMCID: PMC2092398  PMID: 18043723
governance; housing support; joint working

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