Case Study

Transition and Closure Programme

Service Area
Quality & Performance Improvement
Public Health England
The PHE Transition Programme was established in Autumn 2020 to support the effective and efficient transfer of PHE functions to the new public health system arrangements during 2021. The PHE Transition Programme successfully supported the transfer, transitioning 7,500 staff into four respective receiver organisations on 30 September 2021.


The programme was established in September 2020 by authority of the PHE Board to deliver arrangements in response to the decision by Ministers to close PHE in 2021, and to transition its functions, activities and people to new organisations as part of a wider set of public health reforms.

Clarity was approach by South Central and West CSU to stand up and lead a team of blended resources to support the programme delivery.

The aims of the PHE Transition Programme were:

  • Ensuring that the planning, preparation and delivery of the transfer and transition has minimal impact or disruption on:
  • - PHE’s continued response and support to the pandemic.
  • - PHE’s work on delivering essential and urgent public health services in year.
  • - PHE’s continuing delivery of excellent corporate services. ​
  • Ensuring PHE’s functions and responsibilities were transferred during 21/22 in ‘good order’ to the identified and agreed receiving organisations in the future public health system.
  • Ensuring PHE’s people were properly supported and included and felt safe and secure as part of the transfer and transition arrangements, so vital talent and expertise was retained.


The delivery model was built around the core principles of minimising impact on pandemic response and BAU activities, ensuring transfer of functions in good order and ensuring people were properly supported during the transition process.  


The programme team was responsible for developing, and then supporting, the delivery of preparation work by PHE directorate teams to ensure functions, services and people transferred to new receiver organisations in a safe, secure, and carefully planned way


The work was delivered through a blended team of business and subject matter across: PHE, the NHS Business Services Authority (NHSBSA), the South Central and West Commissioning Support Unit (SCWCSU) and Clarity. This blended team approach enabled an agile and responsive approach to meeting the needs of the business and programme, both in terms of skills and capacity.


All workstreams were underpinned and supported by the introduction of a dedicated Integrated Programme Office (IPO) function. The IPO managed the transition risks and dependencies across PHE including business continuity and resilience, plus reporting into central transition on all sender activities.


Programme workstreams and projects were planned and managed utilising, wherever possible, Managing Successful Programmes and Prince2 methodologies. Core programme and project documentation was produced including, amongst others, a Programme Initiation Document, Critical Path, workplans and risk, issue and benefits logs.




You cannot underestimate the value that investing in relationships and people brings to the successful delivery of a transition programme such as this one. I very much believe that if we had run this programme focussed on the processes and not the people we would have failed.

Michael Brodie, Chief Executive Public Health England

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