Case Study: The Sutton Plan

A shared vision for improving a South London borough


‘Our People, Our Places, Our Plan’ or ‘The Sutton Plan’ was launched by over 20 public, private and voluntary sector partners in 2017.

It sets out a route for the council and the clinical commissioning group (CCG) to sustain and develop a good quality of life for those in the Borough.

Its three strategic priorities are: a better quality of life for residents, places underpinned by inclusive and sustainable growth and a coherent system of health and care shaped around the needs of residents.


Programme structure

The Sutton Plan was initiated by the council and the CCG but was developed and launched in partnership with a range of different organisations.

The Sutton Plan has five principles. ‘Think Sutton first’: the team prioritise the needs of the borough above individual organisations. ‘Work across sectors’ and ‘Get involved early’: the aim is to tackle the causes rather than symptoms of problems. ‘Build stronger self-sufficient organisations’ and ‘Provide coordinated, seamless services’: it’s important to avoid duplication in care.

The priorities of the Sutton Plan are broad, but have specific strands of work below them. For example the ‘Domestic Abuse Transformation’ programme. This has involved the creation of a multi-agency transformation board with agreed joint outcomes to standardise support and good practice across Sutton, as well as raising awareness of the issue.



  1. Understand the local context: the initial focus areas of the Sutton Plan (young families, domestic violence, elderly people and making the borough an attractive place to live) were decided upon after citizen engagement and quantitative research uncovered ‘hidden issues’ in these areas. The team realised Sutton performed worse on school readiness and domestic violence outcomes than London as a whole. This research directly informed the development of programme priorities to tackle these problems.
  2. Partner with others: no single organisation takes the lead on the Sutton Partnership, instead it provides a framework to guide people to act. It empowers people to engage strategically and operationally and a route to overcome cultural barriers. While tackling school readiness, a major issue was not the availability of services, but how few families accessed them. Through this partnership approach touchpoints such as GPs, housing organisations and libraries were identified and given guidance on where to direct families who needed help.
  3. Learn and adapt: Many public partnerships in the past have failed because they could not overcome differences. The Sutton Plan team were clear eyed on this point—at the launch Councillor Ruth Dombey specifically referenced ‘Total Place’ as one such example. The team are keen to draw on institutional learnings from previous successful partnerships in the area including a four borough legal service, and the work with the Metropolitan Police on the ‘Safer Sutton Partnership’.


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This case study is part of our framework for place-based funding.


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