Solace in the East of England Seminar: 'Whole Systems Thinking'


27 Jan 2017


South Cambridgeshire District Council
South Cambridgeshire Hall
Cambourne Business Park
Cambourne, Cambridge
CB23 6EA




‘ Whole Systems Thinking’

Thanks to the Government's twin programmes of austerity and devolution, local government will have more of the system to play with, but less money! So how are we going to use our new freedoms to innovate, and how will we use our commissioning to address the root causes of demand - to solve problems rather than serve problems? How can we use data to better understand what is happening in systems and to design smarter interventions? How do we work with the whole system so that the partners act together, realise benefits for one another and produce outcomes they could not produce acting alone? What do we need to do to collaborate in finding more intelligent, collective responses to the long-term challenges facing public service? The event will share the results of Solace's Innovation and Commissioning Network's research into how authorities are using whole systems thinking


To download the Presentations, please click on the links below:

Gavin Jones

Eric Bohl

Simon White

Jamie Blackshaw




Arrival, Registration and tea/coffee


Welcome from Solace
Nicola Beach, Chief Executive, Braintree District Council and Joint Chair of East of England Solace Branch and Gavin Jones, Chief Executive, Essex County Council and Chair of Solace


Greater than the sum: Whole Systems Thinking

Max Wide will describe why whole systems thinking is needed and how it can be used to drive more creative interventions that tackle the root causes of demand; deliver better results; and drive down long-term costs. Eric Bohl will reveal the research's findings on how authorities are using whole systems thinking to commission new ways of tackling wicked problems and the lessons that can be learned.

Speakers: Max Wide, EY, and Eric Bohl, Director, Activist Group.


Refreshment and Networking Break


Breaking the cycle and shaking up entrenched systems

Simon White will describe the experience of taking a radical approach to intervening in systems that have become stuck and dysfunctional, drawing on his experience of leading change in children's services.

Speaker: Simon White, Director of People, Royal Borough of Kingston


Whole Systems Approach to Obesity
Public Health England has commissioned Leeds Beckett University to research, develop and pilot a whole systems approach for local authorities to tackle obesity. The speaker(s) will describe why this approach is needed and the lessons that are emerging from the programme.

Speakers: Jamie Blackshaw, Team Leader, Obesity and Health Weight, Public Health England.


Concluding Remarks 
Gavin Jones
,Chief Executive, Essex County Council and Chair of Solace


Matthew Cross
, Deputy Chief Executive, Broadland District Council and Joint Char of East of England Branch


Event ends with lunch