The Partners for Integration project, set up and hosted by Scottish Care with funding from Scottish Government and local health and social care partnerships, aims to ensure independent sector involvement in the delivery of the agreed outcomes for integration and so play a lead role in service improvement.

Partners for Integration contributes to reform at both local and national levels. Through its 22 Local Integration Leads and Development Officers and the National Lead, the voice of the independent sector is being heard. The learning and relationships gained through the Reshaping Care for Older People project has paid dividends and, for the first time in many areas, we are seeing the independent sector being regarded as an equal partner with a valuable contribution to make. Admittedly the level of partnership working varies across the country but progress is certainly being made.

With direct representation via the Independent Sector Leads and Development Officers, independent sector providers are in a strong position to contribute to how health and social care is delivered and commissioned in their areas. A culture of sharing of good practice and promoting quality of service is now very evident, as is an increasing confidence in exploring new models of care. There are excellent examples of partnership working across Scotland where providers and third and statutory sector colleagues are sharing resources and expertise to enhance the quality of their local community lives.

The Partners for Integration team is committed to ensuring that the Independent sector is recognised as a key player in the integrated landscape. This will be a gradual process but progress is being made. Vital to our success is the involvement and engagement of providers; despite the many challenges facing the sector this is a time of great opportunity.

The Partners for Integration team will be delighted to support you in this journey.