15th May 2017

Halton’s Very Own Virtual ‘Mammy’

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Catherine McClennan & Dave Sweeney

Our feature this week is on our partners Halton Clinical Commissioning Group and Improving ME Vanguard. We have developed an innovative project with Dave Sweeney and Catherine McClennan whereby expectant parents get their own virtual ‘Mammy’ to help better connect them into community programmes and services at an important time in their lives.

Dave Sweeney, Director of Transformation & Deputy Chief Officer NHS Halton CCG and Halton Borough Council explains how it works:

“An inspiring opportunity has developed utilising the innovation, the passion and forward thinking of Elemental Software. The Women and Children's Vanguard is the implementer of the UK roll out of Baby Box initiative. This will help women, children and families get the best start in life.

Incorporating the Baby Box University, the aim is to arm women with a connection to all levels of guidance and peer support to create a healthy birth and after care. Linking Elemental Social Prescribing Software to this means we can pilot a cohort of women and families to track their development and emotional health by keeping a live connection through our ‘Virtual Mammy’. The Virtual Mammy will connect and track the users to the vast local/regional offer embedded into the Baby Box University.

This new partnership is designed to show the benefits of a common sense and person centred approach for families at the most important time in their lives. We are excited and determined to ensure that the results turn into action and implementation”.

Dave is one of a few fully integrated Executive Strategic Commissioners that span both the CCG, LA, Community, Voluntary Sector, Sport and Environment. Dave led early system integration resulting in the pooling of over 42m local statutory provision. Dave has 18 years experience working in NHS and LA transformation/various levels of change management. A love for community assets has led to his appointment as Public Sector Director for Estates. Dave is a multi award winning commissioner and was awarded UK Social Value Leader 2016. He is passionate about mental wellbeing, social movement and harnessing the power of communities. In December 2016, Dave picked up an NHS Leadership Award for ‘Service Development and Innovation’. He has recently took up the interim Chief Officer role at NHS Halton CCG. He is a World Record holder, Dad of two perfect girls, a sport fanatic, guitarist and lead singer in a punk rock band.

Catherine is the Programme Director for Cheshire and Merseyside Women’s and Children’s Services Partnership. Catherine has worked in Public Sector development and improvement roles for nearly twenty five years. She has held national policy positions, advising governments on improving education and skills, reducing inequalities, and business and community development. She has worked with a wide range of organisations, including NHS and professional health associations. She has managed national innovation and transformation funds and led large scale delivery programmes. She has a keen personal and professional interest in maternity and children’s services and their impact on women and their families. She is a mum to three children and is Governor of a local FE College and Chair of their Audit Committee.


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Creating more physically active and socially engaged communities.