There has been a clear ask for action, from people across Greater Manchester (GM) and we’ve seen that how we make things happen, is as important as what we do.

The evaluation and evidence work that has taken place over the past four years is helping to make the less visible and tangible changes more observable. Understanding what makes change happen in complex circumstances is critical to take us forward together. Together we have made good progress in our understanding, but there is a still a way to go. Learning about what makes change happen matters to GM Moving. It also matters to our broader GM mission for public service reform and health transformation.

We will continue to learn, adapt and share as we go as we seek to accelerate progress for more active lives and good lives for all.

Further details please contact

Our core principles: our values in action

The following core principles have emerged as the bedrock of the GM Moving approach.

  • Person-centred – enabling people to move their way, recognising moving matters to all of us for different reasons.
  • Start with what’s strong – spreading and growing what’s good, building on strengths, working with the whole person and whole place.
  • Everyone has a role to play - creating the conditions for people to learn, share, lead, advocate and move together.
  • Equal, diverse and inclusive – putting out mantra of ‘Nothing about us, without us’ into practice. Being honest and building trust.
  • Creating the conditions - through whole system working and enabling system change, culture change and behaviour change for more active lives.
  • Targeting resources – towards the people and places that need them most, taking a community-centered approach to address marginalisation and powerlessness.
  • Evidence-led - paying attention to names and numbers; statistics and stories; hard (tangible) and soft (less tangible) indicators of change.
  • Sustainable - acting responsibly for future generations and the planet.

Our Learning: working in complex systems

Understanding what makes change happen in complex systems is critical to take us forward together. The GM Moving evaluation and evidence work that has taken place over the past four years is helping to make the less visible and tangible changes more observable. Together, we have made good progress in our understanding, but there is a still a way to go. Learning about the enablers of change matters to GM Moving. It also matters to our broader Greater Manchester mission for public service reform and health transformation.

We use a range of models and frameworks to help guide our work, building on existing evidence. These can be used in combination or isolation, depending on the context. They are not prescriptive, how we use them is guided by our core principles.

Promoting a whole system approach: system change

We know that telling people or ‘encouraging’ them to move more, telling them that it is good for them, is not in itself going to make the change.  There’s also no silver bullet to increase activity levels and reduce inequalities. We therefore take a whole system approach, working together to align all of the key influences on whether or not someone is active. The socio-ecological model helps us to do that, guiding us through the multiple layers that make up the system and influence how much we move. Learn more about our whole system work here.

Our Pointers for Leadership Practice: working in a complex system

The following pointers for practice continue to serve as a guide for us all in the various roles we play as part of the GM Moving movement.  They support whole system working and change - helping us all to lead through challenging and complex problems.

Developed through evaluation and experience of working and leading in GM Moving, the pointers are to be shared, used, refined, developed and reflected upon, in GM Moving, across other parts of Greater Manchester and by people working in complex systems in other places. They are very big lessons and we need to constantly revisit them. They are not easy. They are easy to pay lip service to but not easy to live by.

Our approach to behaviour change: individual behaviour change

As we take an insight led, person centred approach to GM Moving, understanding differences in capability, motivation and opportunity is critical - across the population and within and between target audiences. We know that telling people or ‘encouraging’ them to move more, telling them that it is good for them, is not in itself going to make the change – wider system change and cultural change is needed as part of our whole system approach.

  • Capability is defined as the individual’s psychological and physical capacity to engage in the activity concerned. It includes having the necessary knowledge and skills.
  • Motivation is defined as all those brain processes that energize and direct behaviour, not just goals and conscious decision-making. It includes habitual processes, emotional responding, as well as analytical decision-making.
  • Opportunity is defined as all the factors that lie outside the individual that make the behaviour possible or prompt it.  It is important to remember that opportunity is about designing moving opportunities into life as well as the provision of physical activity and sport opportunities in communities.

Enablers for change: creating the conditions

The enablers for change are conditions we’ve learnt need to be in place to create system change, culture change and behaviour change to facilitate active lives.

They help us to understand, plan and guide our work in a joined-up way to create changes that enable active lives. The more people that work to embed the enablers for change in their work, the more detailed and likely understanding we will have about how we create system change. 

Read about them here