Measuring relationships

Knowing whether relationships in a system are good or bad may be intuitive.  However, measuring these relationships in a way that can genuinely add value to the strategic or operational challenges that rely on good relationships is a challenge.  We are now extending our approach directly towards health and social care by drawing on research evidence that indicates what type of value driven behaviours are apparent in relationships in health and care systems with high ‘relational value’.

We began our journey in the application of relational thinking by using the Relational Proximity™ tool, under license from Relational Research, to assess the quality of relationships in a number of projects including the following:

  • Assessing the quality of relationships between a regional  Health Education organisation and related NHS Trusts in the context of quality assurance and workforce planning (more information);
  • An evaluation of the relationships between a Local Education and Training Board (commissioners), the local Ambulance Service and the Universities which deliver required training to Paramedics in that Trust (more information).

Following the development of our own tool to assess Rv (more information) we have undertaken a number of projects which include:

  • Working with Hospice UK to assess the relational health of a Community of Practice as part of a wider evaluation of a development programme for End of Life care services (Read the report here).
  • An innovative and collaborative approach working with the CQC and Relationships Foundation to devise and implement a relational audit as part of their Local Service Reviews project. (Read the relational audit here)
  • Working with a joint CCG and Local Council team to evaluate relationships within, and as they sought to utilise their Better Care Funding, delivering better collaborative working and better outcomes for patients/service users.
  • Working with a CCG to assess the relational value between its 60+ GP practices and the corresponding Integrated Neighbourhood Teams as they seek jointly to establish co-ordinated and integrated care delivery to improve patient outcomes and reduce unscheduled hospital admissions.
  • An Economic Evaluation of Palliative Care Co-ordination Systems (more information).
  • You might also be interested to see how we begin to link Rv measurement with System Dynamic modelling. Take a look at the 'Putting Trust in your Model' example here.

We still believe that there are a number of tools and approaches that can bring the relational dimension of our working environment, and beyond, to life in a new way. We are continuing to work with a number of people in this ‘space’ in a collaborative, and hopefully very relational way . If you would like to join the growing network of people interested in this work or to have a discussion with a member of the WSP team, please contact us via