Sustainable Improvement Team

The Sustainable Improvement (SI) Team (formerly NHS Improving Quality) is the driving force for improvement across the NHS.

NHS Improving Quality (IQ) was founded in April 2013 and on 1 November 2015, NHS IQ staff moved into NHS England as the new Sustainable Improvement Team.

The team of improvement experts has been transferred to the Transformation and Corporate Operations directorate following the recommendations in the Smith Review. The NHS IQ Patient Safety team has merged with its counterpart in NHS England, which will move along with the NHS IQ Advancing Change team into NHS Improvement in April 2016.

The SI team’s purpose is to help the health and care system in England change in a sustainable way, so that high quality affordable care is a reality for everyone.

The team’s experts will work to embed improvement across the health and care system. This will support cross-system requirements, NHS England’s priorities and the Five Year Forward View.

To achieve this they will ensure that they are flexible and responsive to the needs of the entire system. They will both commission and deliver to meet the priority objectives they have been set.


Using their capability and expertise they will deliver on their priority objectives which are to:

  • Support and build capability in leading transformational change to support system transformation and the design and implementation of new service models.
  • Work faster to design, prototype and test potential new improvement initiatives and models, concentrating on those which will have a big impact, helping the system move faster in implementing what works, and stopping what doesn’t.
  • Use the latest thinking
  • to add value by leading and advocating for change;
  • to gather, share and spread knowledge;
  • to connect people for sustainable change;
  • to help the system improve and change faster than has happened before, including by improving awareness and connecting local resources and expertise in service improvement.

In doing this the team scans best practice from across the NHS and the world. It also draws on the experience of previous successful improvement programmes established by the legacy organisations, including the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement, NHS Improvement, National Cancer Action Team, National End of Life Care Programme and NHS Diabetes and Kidney Care.

Areas of work

The team’s key areas of work include:

The team is also involved in horizon scanning work, including NHS Change Day, the School for Healthcare Radicals and The Edge – a free social platform committed to finding, sharing, curating and creating the boldest and most innovative new ideas in health and care. And with NHS England it leads the My Voice My Wheelchair My Life campaign to transform wheelchair services for users and families.

Find out more

To find out more about the Sustainable Improvement Team: