Appointment of the Head of the Collaboration for Wellbeing & Health


Dear Candidate,

Thank you for interest in the role of Head of the Collaboration for Wellbeing & Health. Below is a brief introductory video by Cathy Irving, Director of Communications at the Health Foundation. In it, she talks about the Collaboration, its purpose, aims, and ambitions. Likewise, she also provides an idea of what she might be looking for in the successful candidate.

More information can also be found below including the job description and person specification, as well as our timetable for the campaign.

Naturally, any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the team at Anderson Quigley who would be delighted to help you further.


About Us

The Health Foundation

We are an independent charity committed to bringing about better health and health care for people in the UK.

The Health Foundation has committed funding for five years for a new initiative, the Collaboration for Wellbeing and Health, which aims to develop a bold, cross-sector movement calling for action to address health inequalities.

For more information on The Health Foundation go to

The Collaboration for Wellbeing and Health

The health of the UK population lags behind comparator countries. The UK ranks 22 out of 38 OECD countries for life expectancy. Compared to the OECD average, people get ill earlier, die sooner and spend more of their time in ill health.

Furthermore, this varies considerably across the country and within places, with people born in the most deprived 10% of local areas expected to live over 18 fewer years in good health than those born in the least deprived 10% of local areas.

These differences are driven by people’s different circumstances. Social, economic, commercial and environmental conditions are the strongest determinants of people’s health.

Improving the conditions for health is a long-standing problem, and the challenge in addressing it lies in:

  • framing health as a whole society challenge, not just one for the NHS and public health
  • building the political and public will to address root causes of poor health rather than focusing on short term fixes that address the symptoms
  • bridging individual and society-focused philosophies that offer competing perspectives in terms of understanding causes and bringing about change.

In the wake of the pandemic, there has been a resurgence in the recognition of these issues, creating a once in a generation opportunity to have an impact.  While the evidence of the problem and what needs to be done is established, the challenge is building political and public buy in.

The Health Foundation has committed funding for five years for a new initiative, the Collaboration for Wellbeing and Health, to take advantage of this opportunity. The Collaboration aims to develop a bold, cross sector movement calling for action on the wider determinants of health.[1]

A collaborative initiative that has been co-developed by a set of founding members[2], it seeks to develop a clear campaigning voice and powerful communications to reach audiences from across the public, private and third sector. The aim is to build a movement that calls on policy makers, sector leaders and the general public to recognise the nation’s health as a key asset to society and invest in policies across all sections of society that are already known to create the conditions for healthy lives.

More insights and information can be found here.

[1] The wider determinants of health are the social, cultural, political, economic and environmental factors that shape the conditions in which people are born, grow, live, work and age.

[2] Collaboration members: Business in the Community; Institute of Health Equity; Joseph Rowntree Foundation (JRF); Local Government Association (LGA); New Philanthropy Capital (NPC); People’s Health Trust; Race Equality Foundation; Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH); What Works Centre for Wellbeing.

The role

Head of the Collaboration for Wellbeing & Health

Job reference:

Job purpose

The post holder has the chance to lead this new initiative, creating innovative and compelling campaigns to build the far stronger commitment and action required to create the conditions for health. They will lead a dedicated team (referred to as the integrator unit) within the Health Foundation to develop and lead high impact communications campaigns, grow and mobilise a diverse cross-sector membership, and, where appropriate, facilitate joint policy influencing. They will also ensure the Collaboration’s campaigning reflects the different needs and priorities of communities across the country, drawing on insight from local networks.

The postholder will provide overall strategic leadership for the Collaboration for Wellbeing and Health, leading the ongoing development and delivery of the Collaboration’s strategy to achieve its objectives of shifting public attitudes and influencing policy change that improves health.

The success of the role will be in demonstrably effective communications campaigns.  Critical to this will be the genuine, self-sustaining energy and momentum of the Collaboration. The post holder will need to apply a deep understanding of campaigning. They will also need experience building multi-stakeholder collaboration that is capable of co-developing strategies and aligning activities. An understanding of collaborative change and movement building will be essential, along with practical experience of creating social and policy change through mobilising others, to catalyse action from other organisations.

Applying broad social policy knowledge and experience, and a good understanding of the political context within the UK, the postholder will ensure the strategy and activity of the Collaboration is focused on the areas where the most impact might be achieved.

They will also ensure that the Collaboration effectively engages the public, bringing experience of campaigning and movement building that shifts public opinion, with an understanding of the complexity of doing this on complex social issues.

To do this, they will be responsible for leading the development of this new initiative, including:

  • Setting up the Collaboration, including its membership, infrastructure and operating model.
  • Leading the Collaboration for Wellbeing and Health to realise the ambitions set out in the initiative’s discovery phase and mobilise a broad range of organisations to unite around the Collaboration’s goals, effectively using Health Foundation funding and leveraging in-kind resources from members.
  • Providing visible external leadership and acting as a spokesperson for the Collaboration.
  • Ensuring the strategy and activity of the integrator unit is responsive and adaptive to developments within the external environment, and what we learn about what achieves impact, driving forward a sophisticated programme of campaigning, communications activity and policy influencing.

The Collaboration represents a departure for the Health Foundation in terms of the approaches it uses to bring about change, and represents a bold attempt to shift what have been seen as intractable challenges. It will require an experienced and confident leader that can embrace the risks of the initiative and develop new and impactful paths to change, while maintaining the confidence and support of members, the Health Foundation and its board.

Key tasks and responsibilities

Overall Collaboration strategic leadership

  • Collaboratively create and articulate a compelling and coherent vision for the Collaboration, building on the work done in the discovery phase.
  • Lead the ongoing development of the Collaboration’s strategy, building consensus around the overall aims and ambitions of the Collaboration with members, the steering group, and the Health Foundation directors’ team.
  • Working with the integrator unit team, ensure the Collaboration’s overall mission and vision translates into credible, dynamic and effective influencing activities which make the most of the opportunities and resources available. This will include delivering impactful campaigning that:
    • creates a broad-based shift in understanding of what makes us healthy and how health can be created
    • creates receptiveness to change within policy makers, enabling Collaboration members to influence policy across sectors to create better conditions for healthy lives.
  • Support the team in developing and articulating an understanding of the mechanisms for change which the Collaboration will rely on, learning lessons from movement building around other complex issues. And in developing an understanding of key audience segments and stakeholders and what is effective in engaging and persuading them, drawing on ongoing insights from the Collaboration’s work as well as from other initiatives seeking to change perceptions around what creates health.

Communications and influencing

  • Act as a visible figurehead for the Collaboration, communicating the Collaboration’s purpose and calls externally, and raising the Collaboration’s profile through blogs and social media engagement, and acting as the primary media spokesperson for the Collaboration. This is likely to include media appearances, speaking at events, giving interviews, writing blogs, providing quotes, press responses, and other stakeholder influencing activities with policy and other decision makers. Mobilise key members to act as spokespeople for the Collaboration on relevant topics.
  • Communicate the opportunity the Collaboration offers to sector audiences through speaking at sector events, and engagement with sector press (likely alongside sector members).
  • Support the communications lead to deliver a communications strategy for the Collaboration which makes effective use of high impact campaigning approaches and mobilises the membership to reach a broad set of relevant stakeholders.
  • Develop and oversee a Collaboration-wide policy influencing strategy which makes the most of the credibility and connections of the members to advance the Collaboration’s common policy agenda. Where a Collaboration perspective (as opposed to an issue or sector perspective) is relevant, the post will lead stakeholder influencing activities with policy and other decision makers.

Relationship development

  • Energise and motivate membership through communications and engagement that set out a compelling vision and opportunity for the Collaboration. Facilitate collaboration between members around shared priorities, and catalyse independent action on the part of members in line with the Collaboration’s goals.
  • Build strong relationships with senior leaders in the most strategically critical of the Collaboration’s members and stakeholder organisations, including with senior sector leaders, leaders in national bodies, and selected policy makers. Monitor emerging risks to relationships and capitalise on opportunities for synergy.
  • Ensure team has well-developed approach to building and managing an influential cross-sector Collaboration membership in support of the Collaboration’s strategy.
  • Ensure strategic alignment with the Health Foundation while also developing the distinct strategic and operational approach of the Collaboration.

Organisational and team development

  • Ensure the effective development and functioning of the integrator unit team, ensuring that its governance, reporting, evaluation, communications and operational delivery functions come together to enable it to deliver highly impactful influencing activities.
  • Supporting the Senior Strategy and Engagement Manager, oversee the Collaboration’s governance processes, working with the chair of the steering group to set agendas and ensuring steering group members are well briefed on key issues and that papers are consistently high value. Act as the key spokesperson at the steering group and when taking proposals to the Health Foundation’s board.
  • Work closely with the Senior Strategy and Engagement manager, and other managers within the integrator unit to ensure effective team leadership and management and efficient operational delivery, and build a proactive, inclusive and learning-focused team culture.
  • Be accountable overall for the effective use of the Collaboration’s 5 year £12m budget and the other resources available to the Collaboration, within the parameters set by the board and steering group. Work with the integrator unit team to ensure effective budgeting and business planning processes and financial accountability.
  • Support a proportionate approach to evaluation, focused on generating rapid feedback on the effectiveness of the Collaboration’s activities and using this information to adapt the approach to increase impact.

Key relationships


This is a senior role in the organisation, demanding highly effective leadership and influencing skills. Key relationships will include:

  • The Board and Directors’ team within the Health Foundation, in particular the Director of Communications, and Director of Health (see appendix 1 for governance arrangements)
  • The Collaboration steering group, a governance group established to oversee the delivery of the initiative, made up of relevant Health Foundation directors and Board members, with representation from member organisations.
  • The integrator unit team (see appendix 2)
  • Other senior staff within the Health Foundation, including associate / deputy directors within the communications and healthy lives teams.


  • Current and future Collaboration members drawn from across the wider determinants and operating in the private and third sector, as well as in local government.
  • Opinion formers and senior decision makers across the public health community, local and national government, parliament and the devolved assemblies, media, wider public sector, business and other think tanks and charities working in the social justice field.

Person specification

Knowledge and experience


  1. Proven ability to lead successful high-profile change initiatives that engage public, professional and policy stakeholders, and influence the actions and agendas of external stakeholders. Experience leading multi-audience campaigns, grounded in audience insight, including audience segmentation.
  2. Understanding of campaigning on complex social issues and movement building around social justice issues.
  3. Proven ability to lead change through others. Ability to develop and deliver impactful collaborative action on complex, system change agendas, working with stakeholders from business, academia, third sector, and government to create social and policy change.
  4. Proven ability to influence policy, including broad understanding of social policy, ability to build relationships with senior decision-makers across the political spectrum, communicate evidence and persuasively outline (policy) opportunities.
  5. Excellent communication skills – experience representing an organisation in public including public speaking and presentation skills and external-facing writing (under pressure). Ability to effectively engage internal and member stakeholders, as well as acting as a spokesperson for the Collaboration in the media.
  6. Experience and understanding of how to present and communicate complex issues to a variety of audiences from the most senior policymakers to members of the public. Good facilitation, networking, project management and line management skills.
  7. High level experience leading strategy development and implementation.
  8. A broad understanding of the wider determinants of health and the distinctive roles different sectors can play in improving health including government, arms-length bodies, independent bodies, communities, voluntary sector and business.
  9. A good degree in a relevant subject or relevant experience.

Skills and abilities

  1. Creative, lateral thinker, able to bring new perspectives to seemingly intractable problems.
  2. Skilled campaigner, able to spot opportunities in debate and broader culture for fresh and compelling communications.
  3. Able to synthesise input and information from members, stakeholders, and the external environment and decisively identify opportunities for influence, or new approaches to achieve change, and translate these into action.
  4. Experience of involving, and working with people facing social injustice in respectful and empowering ways.
  5. Proven ability to build mutually beneficial relationships at a senior level across a range of sectors and teams.
  6. Able to deliver impact by working with and through others, building a movement for change.
  7. Flexible, adaptable and respectful of colleagues.
  8. Open, communicative, and approachable to all staff across the organisation irrespective of role or seniority.
  9. An understanding of, and commitment to, equal opportunities and diversity.

Proposed governance arrangements for the Collaboration

Proposed structure for integrator unit team



Terms of Appointment

Job title: Head of the Collaboration for Wellbeing & Health

Accountable to: Director of Communications

Salary: circa £80,000 per annum

Hours per week: 37.5 hours per week

For full details of the benefits package, please click here.

How to Apply

Anderson Quigley is acting as an advisor to The Health Foundation. An executive search process is being carried out by Anderson Quigley in addition to the public advertisement.

Should you wish to discuss the role in strict confidence, please contact our advising consultant at Anderson Quigley: Helene Usherwood on +44(0)7719 322 669.

The closing date for applications is noon on Monday 9 August 2021. 

Applications should consist of:

  • A full CV.
  • A covering letter (maximum of two pages) setting out your interest in the role and details of how you match the knowledge and experience criteria of the person specification.
  • Please include the names and email addresses of two referees in either your CV or cover letter. Referees will not be approached until the final stages and not without prior permission from candidates.
  • Please use the following link to complete an online Equal Opportunity Monitoring Form.

Completed applications should be uploaded at using the reference AQ1183


Closing date: noon on Monday 9 August
Longlisting: Thursday 12 August
Informal Chat with Jo Bibby, Director of Health at The Health Foundation and Helene Usherwood, Partner at Anderson Quigley (online / 1hr 30 minute): Monday 16 August – Friday 27 August
Shortlisting: Thursday 2 September
Psychometric Assessment:
This will include up to four online assessments and an hour telephone conversation with Anderson Quigley’s Psychologist, Sharon Chan.
Monday 6 September – Friday 10 September
Final Panel Interviews:
Candidates will be required for a full day to give a presentation to a range of experts in the morning, following by a formal panel interview in the afternoon.
Dependent on Government guidance, this may be held online or face to face at the Foundation’s Office.
Thursday 23 September