Flight of the Flamingos evaluation

The ‘Flight of the Flamingos’ was a training and development programme in Wolverhampton intended to help middle managers bring about change and strengthen partnership working, leading to improved delivery. It was piloted by the LSP’s Health and Well-Being Partnership between October 2006 and January 2007, with follow-ups run on worklessness and on private rented housing. We evaluated the programme on behalf of the Wolverhampton Partnership and the Government Office for the West Midlands.

The programme sought to develop participants’ understanding the service delivery system and their ability to influence within it, with expectations that it would lead to actions in pursuit of priority outcomes and service improvements, especially in making ‘seamless services’ a reality. Knowledge of systems thinking was built into programme design, eg, in:

  • making imaginative use of group facilitation techniques to help address some of the common obstacles to effective partnership working, in particular, the use of the ‘World Café’
  • ensuring the commitment from senior members of the Health and Well Being Partnership, in promoting and engaging with the programme, underlining its importance as ‘champions’/ mentors for individual participants and involving, eg, the Council Leader, PCT Chief Executive and LSP Director in open exchange sessions during the programme

Benefits from the pilot included:

  • a challenge to thinking about how services will need to be delivered in future
  • new contacts, stronger relationships and greater mutual understanding
  • better dialogue between organisations
  • opportunities for voluntary organisations and the Library Service to be more central to service development
  • application of new techniques to improve partnership processes and service planning
  • reassurance for participants about their own strengths, skills and approach

Importantly, the programme has led to participants pursuing joint projects and bids, involving new configurations of partner involvement, such as in developing new primary care and community health facilities. We subsequently produced a case study for the IDeA Partnerships and Places Library, which updated ‘Flight of the Flamingos’, highlighting how the approach – subsequently run across all LSP theme partnerships – led to a more effective and efficient approach for the partnership in tackling the big issues for the city.




Evidence & performance, Partnerships & organisations


evaluation, partnership