Partners for Integration is a national network of development staff with backgrounds in education, social care, health and the voluntary sector who work to ensure the effective representation of independent sector agencies within Health and Social Care Partnerships.

Through its Partners for Integration team, Scottish Care builds on experience, knowledge and relationships to support providers and our partners to meet the opportunities and challenges ahead. By working collaboratively, exploring new and innovative approaches to service delivery and embedding a culture of improvement and implementation of good practice, the Partners for Integration team creates the conditions for transformational change in how services are commissioned and delivered.

Partners for Integration was set up in 2012 and was hosted by Scottish Care with funding from Scottish Government and local health and social care services. Partners for Integration focused initially on improving services for older people, with a National Lead and Development Officers appointed in many areas to ensure independent sector involvement in the delivery of the agreed outcomes for older people. Areas adopting the model in 2012 include Argyll and Bute, West Dunbartonshire, Inverclyde, South and North Lanarkshire and Fife.

Since 2016, with the implementation of the Public Bodies (Joint Working) (Scotland) Act, the role of Partners for Integration has expanded to include a focus on all those using services for adults and a role in supporting the integration of health and social care services. The independent sector is one of the partners in local health and social care partnerships and Partners for Integration supports the development of Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) arrangements and ensures the effective representation of all independent sector agencies across a range of groups and activities.

Many Partnership areas now have an Independent Sector Lead in post, and some have small teams of staff. The National Leads support a network of 26 staff in 21 Partnership and Health Board areas across Scotland, enabling the voice of the independent sector to be heard and to be influential. The National Leads also have a focus on integration and improvement at a senior policy level and work with partners including Scottish Government and the Care Inspectorate.