As part of the Analytical Collaboration on Covid-19 – and working with the NHSE/I Midlands region - the Strategy Unit has produced a model to support local systems working through the dynamics of elective recovery.

The brief was to build a usable model that could be adopted and adapted locally, and that allowed the running of multiple scenarios to help inform local planning. We used a System Dynamics modelling approach to deliver this. The model was developed and tested with the NHSE/I Midlands region.

The model is freely available for non-commercial use. Instructions on accessing the model and working with it are available here;

For those requiring an introduction to the model and the System Dynamics method, an explanatory video is available here or here.

For further queries, Please contact Steven Wyatt ( and Mike Woodall (


During the COVID-19 pandemic we have seen rapid changes in ways of working. We have seen an increase in collaboration, particularly through digital platforms, the sharing of data, and people describing ‘true system working’.

So how do we capture innovations and changes in practice? How do we learn from them? How to we identify what should be continued and what should not? How do we sort promising, effective changes from those that are ineffective – or even potentially harmful?

If we don’t think about how to do this systematically there is a risk that learning will be lost as pressures to ‘return to normal’ increase. 


This guide has been developed to help health and social care teams and their leaders learn from service changes put in place or accelerated during the COVID-19 response. The guide is not exhaustive. It offers an overview and practical, helpful suggestions of how learning can be captured and acted upon. It signposts to more detailed resources.