Health Together


Health and social care organisations face a major challenge – how to engage people, patients and communities to deliver better health and wellbeing outcomes for less cost and to address health inequalities at the same time.

Many commissioners and service managers are starting to recognise the benefits of such an approach.

“Without citizen participation and community engagement fostered by public service organisations, it will be difficult to improve penetration of interventions and to impact on health inequalities.” (Marmot (2010) Fair Society, Healthy Lives, p151). 

At Health Together, we know how to commission for and deliver effective engagement to improve health and wellbeing. We combine practical experience of policy making and programme delivery with academic rigour and in-depth knowledge of the evidence base.

Health Together offer a bespoke service. We can help you identify what your organisation wants to do and how to make it happen. From research and needs assessment, through to commissioning, programme planning, delivery and evaluation we can support you to engage with people, patients and communities.

We can provide facilitation, policy development, evidence briefings, report writing, programme design, research and evaluation.

Putting ‘the public’ back into public health’ post-conference briefing

Quality Statements for Local Healthwatch

Health Together was commissioned by Healthwatch England to help local Healthwatch develop a tool to allow them and their stakeholders to assess their effectiveness. We worked with over 40 local Healthwatch to develop a set of Quality Statements which can be used in a variety of ways at a local level - including self-assessment, peer and commissioner review. Key elements of the design are:

  • Ease of use
  • Standard framework which allows for sharing of good practice across the network that is also sensitive to local circumstances
  • Clear linkage to statutory activities of local Healthwatch
  • Recognises role of Healthwatch England

The Draft Quality Statements were launched at the Healthwatch England national conference in July 2015.’

Quality Statements for Local Healthwatch
Using and Testing Quality Statements for Local Healthwatch
Developing Quality Statements for Local Healthwatch

About us

The Health Together team believe in the power of active citizens to improve health and wellbeing and help tackle inequalities. Judy White, Director of Health Together, says;

“We believe that healthy communities are those where people are actively engaged in the life of the community and in shaping services – including those people who have not previously got involved. We believe that in the future health and social care services will need to make community and patient engagement central to everything that they do.”

The core team of Health Together are all part of the Institute for Health and Wellbeing at Leeds Beckett University. Active for many years in the field of community engagement the core team have developed successful programmes and policies, conducted numerous research and evaluation projects and conducted large-scale reviews of evidence and knowledge on what really is effective.

Judy White, Director of Health Together
Judy White
Judy set up the early adopter Health Trainer programme in Bradford and helped develop health trainers regionally and nationally. She has evaluated health trainer and community health champion programmes and published numerous reports and articles. Judy is now a senior lecturer at Leeds Beckett University having spent 10 years in the voluntary and community sector and over 20 years in health promotion in the NHS.

Mark Gamsu, Visiting Professor at the Institute for Health and Wellbeing
Mark Gamsu
Mark has worked strategically at a regional and national level both in the voluntary and community sector and in local government. Mark’s particular expertise is in developing and implementing practical community led actions to meet local need in ways that are consistent with but not constrained by government policy. He has in-depth knowledge of areas that include, the Social Determinants of Health; Joint Strategic Needs Assessments; Health and Wellbeing Board Development and Citizenship and Health.

Jane South, Professor of Healthy Communities
Jane South
Jane at Leeds Beckett University is one of the country’s leading experts on community engagement. She leads a research programme on active citizens, communities and health and has a national and international profile for her work on lay health workers and volunteer roles in health.  Research and evaluation of public health practice and developing bespoke frameworks for practice in local government and the NHS are key areas of expertise.

All the team are experienced policy makers, teachers and facilitators.

The core team of Health Together work closely with a number of partners and associates to deliver a wide ranging set of skills and experience.

Jenny Woodward, Research Fellow and Sue Rooke, Administrator, provide additional support and resource.

Jenny Woodward is an experienced qualitative researcher in the field of health promotion. Her work encompasses health trainers, health champions, older people, child weight management programmes and school meals research. Her background is in communications and marketing – and she uses the skills developed there to produce accessible, concise briefings of health promotion research and evidence.

Sue Rooke is an experienced, efficient administrator with strong skills in event management, project management, IT and new media.

Our services

Health Together work closely with clients to identify what an organisation wants to achieve and how that can happen.

The following are some examples of areas of work we have particular expertise in:

  • Research and evaluation
    We are experienced in undertaking both large and small scale research and evaluation, specialising in qualitative methods which focus on assessing patients, users and other stakeholders’ views as well as on evaluating outcomes. We have developed an evaluation framework to use when assessing citizen involvement in neighbourhood planning.

    Seven evaluations of Health Trainer Services in Bradford, North Lincolnshire, Scarborough, East Riding and Kirklees have been conducted by the team. These can be downloaded from the Health Trainers England website here.

    Jane South and Jackie Green from the Centre for Health Promotion Research are authors of “Evaluation.” This definitive book from 2006 combines the theory and principles of evaluation with practical implementation.
  • Evidence and knowledge
    We undertook a large study called People in Public Health which looked at approaches to developing and supporting lay people in public health roles. For more information about the project and a full summary please visit the website.

    Four evidence reviews and two evaluations of Community Health Champion programmes for Altogether Better have been completed – these can be accessed on their website.

    A recent evaluation of the Sunderland Health Champion programme is available here
  • Training and Facilitation
    We offer seminars, workshops and bespoke whole day training events on all aspects of community engagement including policy, practice and evaluation – both for commissioners and service providers and for communities themselves. We are accredited with the Royal Society of Public Health (RSPH) as a training centre and in March 2013, Sarah Lockyer, one of our delivery partners, ran a two day training programme for health champions which evaluated very well. Click here for more information.

    Early in 2013 we were commissioned by the Local Government Association to facilitate a series of area based workshops on a whole system approach to assets based working and health improvement in Walsall, which we did in collaboration with the Federation of Community Development Learning. Click here for more information.

    In early 2013 we were also commissioned by Sheffield City Council to facilitate a series of consultation events to engage the voluntary and community sector in the development of their joint strategic needs assessment. Judy White and Mark Gamsu can be viewed here talking about the events they facilitated:

  • Programme Review and Development
    We are available to act as consultants to any agency wanting to set up a programme to engage communities or patients, covering all stages of development from reviewing existing provision or developing an initial idea, then programme design and implementation, through to monitoring and evaluation. For example, in Spring 2013 we undertook a review of community health champion provision in Lincolnshire. For the report of this scoping review, please click here.
  • Policy
    We publish regular briefings on Government policy and are able to help organisations design their own bespoke community or patient engagement policies.

Our Work

Our model of working is rooted in working collaboratively, particularly with the voluntary and community sector, to bring community voices into decision making around health and promote an assets based approach, as these examples from our current work illustrate. We offer a flexible and bespoke service and are happy to undertake very small commissions as well as larger ones.

Urgent Care

In early 2015 Health Together analysed a survey conducted by NHS Leeds North Clinical Commissioning Group of user views of Urgent Care Services in Leeds. The report is here: Urgent Care Report

Bradford Beating Diabetes

In 2014 Bradford City Clinical Commissioning Group asked Health Together to evaluate their pilot programme ‘Bradford Beating Diabetes’. For a copy of a brief case study click here.

The report is here: Bradford Beating Diabetes

Health Trainers End of Year Review

In May/June 2014 Health Together undertook a review of health trainer data for the national Data Collection and Reporting Service. The report of this work summarises health trainer activity in the financial year 2013-2014, using data recorded on the DCRS. Not all health trainer services use the DCRS to record their activity (some use other systems and some do not use electronic systems at all), so the figures in this report do not represent the whole picture of what health trainers are doing nationally. Nevertheless, with approximately 60% of health trainer services still using the DCRS, it is an important central resource for assessing the activity of health trainers in England and the report provides a useful overview of activity in the past year with a particular focus on mental health and wellbeing, in relation to client demographics and achievement of personal health plan goals. The report can be found here.


We are delighted to be part of the winning tenders to run Healthwatch in Leeds and Wakefield. Jess Parker, Business Development Director, Touchstone said:

“Touchstone is delighted to be delivering Healthwatch Leeds in partnership with Health Together, Leeds Involving People, Inclusion North and the people of Leeds. Health Together offered invaluable insight and made huge contributions during tendering and mobilisation of Healthwatch. Their national influence, academic rigour and ability to analyse the evidence, offering practical, applied solutions has brought strength to our unique voluntary and academic sector partnership.”

Health Together ran a series of workshops on Good Practice with regard to Healthwatch Investigations and have produced a briefing.

For a copy of our report on Quality Accounts co-produced with Healthwatch Leeds click here

Walsall District Council – facilitation of area based workshops

In late 2012 we were asked by the Local Government Association to facilitate a series of six area based workshops for Walsall District Council working with NHS Walsall. These aimed to rebalance practice in Walsall to place greater emphasis on working in partnership with the public taking an assets based approach Denise Parry, Area Manager for Walsall South said:

“I have recently had the pleasure of working with Mark Gamsu from Health Together. I found him to be thoroughly professional and very supportive always prepared to go the extra mile. We particularly appreciated his understanding of community assets and how they could be developed.”
Sheffield City Council – facilitation of engagement at JSNA consultation events

In January/February 2013 we facilitated group activities at a series of four Joint Strategic Needs Assessment consultation events for Sheffield City Council and provided an on the spot summary of the key points emerging from the groups. We also contributed to a members review of public health, advising on what ‘people-centred public health’ might look like. Richard Parrot a commissioner with SCC said:

“Mark and Judy have been a huge asset to us in the public engagement on our latest JSNA. Their ability to combine expert knowledge with a genuinely people centred approach has helped stakeholders from all sectors engage positively with our JSNA and has made a real impact.
Many thanks!”
NHS Lincolnshire – scoping the work of community health champions

We are working in collaboration with Public Health, NHS Lincolnshire, the University of Lincoln and Development Plus, a leading voluntary sector organisation based in Lincoln, to scope the work community health champions are currently doing across the county. We will be producing a report to help inform business planning for Public Health. Teresa Roche, Public Health Consultant said:

“Health Together have supported our Community Champion Scoping exercise - it has been a pleasure working with them their knowledge has helped shape our thinking and their collaborative approach has made all the partners working on this project feel included, we look forward to the report that they are producing for us which will help inform the business case we are developing.”

To view the report please click here.

A review of Bradford District Care Trust’s Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) strategy and processes

In March 2014 we completed a review of Bradford District Care Trust’s Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) strategy and processes. The aim of the review was to assess how effective the current PPI strategy and processes were, in order to be able to plan how to take them forward in the future. It entailed:

  • Reviewing the content and implementation of the Trust’s Involving You 3 strategy and making recommendations for changes
  • Reviewing current structures and processes for involvement of service users and carers and recommending improvements
  • Reviewing central and operational capacity/support arrangements for involvement and recommending improvements

The BDCT report can be downloaded here.

Michael Smith, Chair of the Trust said

‘Mark Gamsu and the Leeds Beckett University Health Together team have provided the Trust with a wealth of information following their recent review of service user and carer involvement, all of which was succinctly collated and clearly presented. The review will allow us to make some really far-reaching and innovative changes, the results of which I have no doubt we will be seeing in many years to come. I would have no hesitation in recommending Mark and the team to other organisations as the service they offer is value-for-money, reliable and insightful.’

Evaluation of East Riding Health Trainer Service’s work with fishermen

In the spring and summer of 2013 we undertook an evaluation of a pilot run by East Riding Health Trainer Service which aimed to reach and support fishermen, related workers and their families to improve their health. The pilot was initially funded by the Seamen's Hospital Society and the evaluation involved analysing the monitoring data and case stories collected by the health trainers; talking to clients (eight were interviewed over the telephone); the two health trainers and three stakeholders. The aim of the evaluation was to discover: how far the service had been successful in reaching fishermen and their families: whether the service had been effective in supporting them to improve their health and well-being: what the views of clients were of the service and what factors were key to determining the effectiveness of the pilot. View a copy of the evaluation report ADD here.

Strengthening the Voice of Neighbourhoods

In 2013 we did a small piece of work with Locality which involved interviewing the chief officers of four community organisations in Yorkshire with an established track record of providing health and wellbeing services. These views were then tested at a half-day workshop with a larger group of Locality members and the results written up as a briefing which calls for a rebalancing of commissioning to give greater consideration to the needs of communities and neighbourhoods. The recent creation of Health and Wellbeing Boards (HWBs) and Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) provides an opportunity to develop more locally relevant delivery models, however the danger is that without an active local development agenda commissioners will continue to rely predominantly on universal authority level services that do not take sufficient account of localised needs. The briefing sets out a series of recommendations for local and national stakeholders that would enable this rebalancing to occur. The report can be found here.

News and events

New report authored by Leeds Beckett Professor shows Communities are key to health and wellbeing

A new guide, authored by Jane South, Professor of Healthy Communities within Leeds Beckett University’s Institute for Health and Wellbeing, which highlights the importance of communities to the improvement of health and wellbeing in the UK, has been published by Public Health England (PHE) and NHS England.

The guide has identified how local government and the NHS have important roles in building confident communities to improve health and reduce inequalities. Professor South has been working with PHE in the role of expert advisor on community approaches. It states that the move to a new health system, including the transfer of public health to local government, has created opportunities for public health and healthcare to become more person- and community-centred. The report and briefing, prepared by Professor South, is the culmination of a joint project between PHE and NHS England aiming to draw together and disseminate evidence on community-centred health programmes. A team at the Institute for Health and Wellbeing also contributed to the background research.

Professor South commented: “When it comes to health and wellbeing, communities matter. That's why the guide calls on local health partners to consider how community-centred approaches can be used to improve health and tackle health inequalities. These cover strengthening communities, increasing volunteering, involving citizens in local planning and improving access to community resources. The guide describes a wide range of UK models and signposts to sources of evidence. It's been great to have had the opportunity to work with PHE and NHS England to develop this guide, which I hope will now be used as a resource for public health planning and practice.”

Professor Ieuan Ellis, Dean of the Faculty of Health and Social Sciences and Pro Vice Chancellor at Leeds Beckett, added: “'Authoring of this key national report from Public Health England and NHS England is further recognition of the major contribution and national impact of the research of Leeds Beckett's Professor Jane South. Jane provides inspirational research-informed thought leadership which is informing policy and transforming best practice through valuing the effective engagement of individuals and communities for health improvement.”

Professor South has led a number of national studies on peer and volunteering interventions in health. She is part of a team of academics who deliver real-world research focused on community health and inequalities.

The Institute for Health and Wellbeing at Leeds Beckett University has a strong track record of research, evaluation and public engagement on community engagement and volunteer roles in health, working with partners across local and national government, the NHS and third sector to build the evidence base and support effective practice. Our innovative Community-Campus partnership is a flagship initiative which aims to identify ways to bring academic and community knowledge together to improve health and wellbeing in local communities.

To read the full report, please see

Putting ‘the public’ back into public health - Building the experience of citizens into public health evidence

Read more about the Conference

Conference Presentations

Recent Seminars

People-Centred Public Health
A new book by Jane South, Judy White and Mark Gamsu, People Centred Public Health, was launched on Friday 15th February 2013. See
Dr Ruth Hussey (Chief Medical Officer for Wales) and David Hunter (Professor of Health Policy and Management, Durham University) spoke at the event and a debate on what an equitable and people-centred public health system would look like took place. For links to the talks and debate click on the appropriate link below. 

To view Peter Duncan's presentation "Public Health moves back to local authorities – are there lessons from the recent history of health promotion?" please click here.

To listen back on Dave Bucks presentation "Clustering of Unhealthy Behaviours" please click here.

Testimonials from previous clients

Here is a selection of comments from previous clients of the Health Together team:

  • Michael Smith, Chair of Bradford District Care Trust, May 2014

‘Mark Gamsu and the Leeds Beckett University Health Together team have provided the Trust with a wealth of information following their recent review of service user and carer involvement, all of which was succinctly collated and clearly presented. The review will allow us to make some really far-reaching and innovative changes, the results of which I have no doubt we will be seeing in many years to come. I would have no hesitation in recommending Mark and the team to other organisations as the service they offer is value-for-money, reliable and insightful.’

  • Alyson McGregor, Co Director Altogether Better, 9.05.12:    

“Judy has many years of experience of working in health improvement and has a deep understanding of the issues we are dealing with dealing with which has enabled us to commission evaluations which not only provide us with valuable evidence of our work but which will also enable us to influence and inform our future practice. The benefit to of our continuing relationship with Judy and CHPR is that they are unique in understanding our values, principles and practice and that they work with us to develop our thinking and ideas about the evaluation we are commissioning. They bring not only academic rigour and challenge but also an ability to work sensitively and diplomatically with our diverse group of stakeholders enabling us to collectively develop our thinking about the evaluation we have commissioned. I hope that we will continue to work together and would without reservation recommend them to prospective commissioners.” 

  • Julie Parker, Public Health Lead, Sunderland Teaching Primary care Trust, 8.5.12:  

“We recently commissioned Leeds Beckett University to carry out the Sunderland Health Champion evaluation. When we commissioned the evaluation we understood that the deadlines were tight, and yet the university performed to a high standard and met every deadline. One of their biggest assets is great team work and excellent communication skills, not only with each other, but with Public Health at Sunderland Teaching Primary Care Trust.  I would definitely recommend them.”

  • Antony Sadler, Service Director - Commercial Services, Communities, Wakefield MDC, 14.05.12:  

“Leeds Beckett University was commissioned on behalf of the Wakefield Together Partnership to develop an Evaluation framework to support its Area Working arrangements.  Through the project, Professor Jane South has worked closely with the Partnership which has provided an excellent opportunity for collaboration.  The project has involved the facilitation of stakeholder workshops, and multi-agency Director working sessions; development of a comprehensive Outcomes framework and a bespoke Evaluation toolkit.  Wakefield’s partnership with the University has been found to be extremely positive and is considering further opportunities for collaboration in the future.”

  • Chris Nield, Consultant, NHS Sheffield and Gareth Johnstone, Community Development & Health Commissioner, NHS Sheffield,  11.05.12:  

“The team (at Health Together) worked with us closely (on the evaluation) to achieve an understanding of how we achieved the results, visiting the Sheffield site and meeting staff involved in the process of data collection and reporting. Gathering data from volunteers was challenging but the flexible approach of the team through Judy’s leadership enabled this to be collected and counted.  Judy’s positive process and approach means the final report can be used to meet the requirements of key stakeholders demonstrating the economic costs and benefits...”

  • Gateshead NHS, September 2011:    

“Mark Gamsu designed and facilitated an event 'Engagement and Responsibility' for Gateshead PCT. Participants included the LA, PCT and Voluntary and Community Sector. Mark was an excellent facilitator who managed to engage the group in lively and challenging debate. From the event Mark developed an action plan to develop a more strategic approach to engagement across Gateshead. Evaluation from participants was positive including: "Mark demonstrated huge knowledge and was able to be flexible to respond to the demands in the room”

  • Richard Caulfield Chief Executive Voluntary Sector North West, September 2011:

“Mark Gamsu’s knowledge of how the health system works and of the voluntary and community sector has proven invaluable in the work he has conducted for Regional Voices and Voluntary Sector North West.  He is good at communicating with professionals in both arenas and analyses information in an effective way producing accessible reports that inform key decision makers.”

  • David Hopkinson, DCRS Service Lead, Midlands and Lancashire CSU, July 2014

‘We tasked the Health Promotion Research Team with bringing their research discipline and public health expertise fully to the fore in order to produce for us a National Health Trainer Service Annual Report. Collaborating with the team was a pleasurable experience, they quickly grasped our requirements, mastered our datasets and used their expertise to generate the report. The team were easy to work with and delivered our report to agreed time & cost... we’d happily recommend their services to others.’



The team have published widely in the area of community engagement.

We publish regular briefings on Government policy and are able to help organisations design their own bespoke community or patient engagement policies. One of our team, Mark Gamsu, has co-authored a briefing on Healthwatch with the Local Government Association. Useful to read alongside this is a further briefing on Healthwatch from the Local Government Association.


Contact us

To contact the Health Together team please use the details below.

Shona McCulloch
Public Health Conference Administrator,
Direct dial: 0113 812 4334

Sue Rooke
Health Together Administrator,
Direct dial: 0113 812 1957

Judy White
Director of Health Together
Direct dial: 07780493024

Postal Address:
Health Together,
Faculty of Health & Social Sciences,
Leeds Beckett University,