October 20 2022

Over a period of six years, public services in Wigan have been through a major process of transformation, based on the idea of building a different relationship with local people.  The new approach to delivering services has become known as the ‘Wigan Deal’.

As part of our work exploring a more collective approach to leadership across Northern Ireland’s public service, we are delighted to welcome Alison McKenzie-Folan, Chief Executive of Wigan Council and Professor Kate Adern, Director of Public Health, Wigan, to Belfast for this Masterclass. 

The Wigan Deal is an example of ‘asset-based’ working, in which public services seek to build on the strengths and assets of individuals and communities to improve outcomes.  Whilst other areas have explored similar approaches, Wigan is notable for the scale and consistency with which these ideas have been applied.

The Kings Fund has published a useful analysis of the Wigan Deal A citizen-led approach to health and care: Lessons from the Wigan Deal | The King's Fund ( examining the need for change; the core elements of Wigan’s approach; how the transformation happened; what was achieved and the implications for other areas. 

The report describes how, above all else, the Wigan Deal is a story of profound cultural change within the Council and its partners.  At the heart of this new culture is a set of positive beliefs about the potential of frontline staff and local people to bring about improvement.  For other areas seeking to replicate the Deal, fostering this set of beliefs and the different behaviours that go with them should be the first priority.

Alison and Kate will provide an overview of the Deal in practice, followed by a discussion session enabling delegates to explore in depth the realities of delivering this deal, and how it might apply to public service delivery in Northern Ireland.

The link to the Wigan Deal Presentation from the conference is below: