Exploring social franchising and licensing This programme forms part of our work to test and pilot new approaches to scaling health and social care interventions


This programme is closed for applications.

  • We are funding four teams up to £145,000 each for one year, to explore whether social franchising and licensing techniques can successfully scale their work.
  • The teams will be supported by the Health Foundation, Spring Impact and an independent evaluator during the programme.
  • This programme forms part of our work to test and pilot new approaches to scaling health and social care interventions.

The Health Foundation is exploring new techniques to scale improvement. Social franchising and licensing are methods to replicate and scale interventions that have not yet been used widely in health care in the UK. We believe they have the potential to help spread proven health interventions. For example they:

  • offer greater levels of support to implementers adopting an intervention than other methods of spread by providing ongoing training and support
  • help create a sustainable financial model for the intervention itself
  • offer more control to the innovator to ensure fidelity to a particular model where this is necessary for improved outcomes, while at the same time supporting local flexibility in implementation.


Social franchising involves enabling another team or organisation to deliver a proven intervention to agreed standards under a franchise agreement. Social licensing involves turning an innovation into intellectual property that can be licensed for use by others, with certain expectations of quality. In both cases, the primary aim is to maximise social benefit which is what distinguishes them from the commercial use of franchising and licensing methods.


This programme had a two stage application process. At the first stage we invited teams to express their interest in receiving funded consultancy support from Spring Impact to explore whether social franchising techniques could support the successful scale of improvement interventions. We were looking for:

  • teams from a UK health or social care organisation that provide health and/or social care services free at the point of use or non-profit organisations, social enterprises or other social purpose organisations 
  • interventions with a mature evidence base tested in multiple sites or across multiple years
  • teams with a clear understanding of the distinct elements that have been core to making their intervention successful
  • interventions that had been independently evaluated, published and peer reviewed.

At the end of the first stage. Spring Impact worked with 10 organisations to offer consultancy support. 

During the second stage, we invited a number of applicants, who took part in the first stage, to apply for funding.

We were looking for up to four projects to be funded over one year to develop their social franchising or licensing model to scale interventions from the original site where the intervention was developed to further sites. 

The successful applicants were announced in December 2017.

If you have questions about the programme, please contact: social.franchising@health.org.uk.

Developing a licensed, social franchising model for regional hubs to support and sustain the roll out of effective local multi-professional maternity training

Improvement project

This project aims to develop a social franchise model to support, sustain and quality-assure the roll-out of PROMPT multi-professional training across the UK.

Scale up, replication and licensing of the PINCER intervention

Improvement project

This project is scaling up and spreading a proven pharmacist-led intervention to reduce common medication errors in general practice, making make primary care prescribing even safer for patients.

Replicating Pathway’s homeless health hospital team model to towns and cities experiencing significant homelessness

Improvement project

This project will use a social franchising or licensing approach to replicate and scale a model of integrated healthcare for homeless people.

IRISi – Scaling And replicating IRIS through social licensing

Improvement project

This project​ will use social franchising and licensing to scale up and replicate IRIS, a successful general practice-based training, support and referral programme for domestic violence and abuse.

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