Most of us met at a meeting held by Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity in December 2015. The aim of that meeting was to explore whether it was desirable to create a ‘learning cohort’ of practitioners seeking to understand health beyond the lens of health care. 

In March 2017, with support from Bridging Health & Community, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity and The LankellyChase Foundation, we invited about 50 practitioners into a conversation around the statement:

“When people and communities are genuinely listened to, the health system will have relinquished some of its power. It won’t set priorities; it’ll agree them with communities. It won’t provide solutions; it will derive and implement them with communities. And it won’t decide whether something ‘worked’; it’ll work with communities to understand what is valued, and by whom.”

Through the conversation, we realised the problem was not confined to health. All statutory systems look at people and communities only on the basis of a set of pre-defined measures. Improving these measures is not the same as supporting people to lead fulfilling lives. This situation has come about because of the differences in power between systems and communities.

Through the conversation, we also realised that the practitioners and residents defining new ways of working needed support. In response, we established Beyond Systems (and called ourselves the Steering Group).

We are not an organisation, as such, but a group of people seeking to nurture the field of practice that is based on parity, trust and an equal voice for all.

The Steering Group

Clare Wightman, Grapevine Coventry and Warwickshire 

Elizabeth Slade, Organiser, Beyond Systems & Formerly of Sunday Assembly 

Gail Findlay, University of East London 

James Murray, Independent Consultant & Formerly of Guy's and St Thomas' Charity 

Jess Cordingly, The LankellyChase Foundation

Joe Doran, The LankellyChase Foundation

Jonathan Stead, C2 Connecting Communities 

Mike Wilson, Pembroke House 

Nick Gardham, The Company of Community Organisers  

Pritpal S Tamber, Founder, Beyond Systems & CEO & Co-Founder, Bridging Health & Community

We want Beyond Systems to reflect the diversity of the population. Part of our work will be to keep this in focus, including seeking to increase the diversity of the Steering Group.