STOP COVID Leadership and Roles

Why an LHP wide response is needed

At a systems level members of Liverpool Health Partners (LHP) work collaboratively to convene excellence in innovation, research and education. In 2019, LHP launched the Single Point of Access for Research and Knowledge (SPARK) to expedite and standardise the development and set up of clinical research across the University of Liverpool, 7 NHS Trusts and one CCG, with further LHP members to join endeavours over time. The full research pathway of study development through to support for delivery is provided by the North West Coast Clinical Research Network (CRN NWC) for portfolio studies. They work collaboratively with SPARK who also support the wider research portfolio in Liverpool. LHP SPARK is managed via an Operations Executive Group (OEG) that meets monthly, reporting to the LHP Director of Research Infrastructure and Education with performance oversight by the LHP Board and its sub committees. NHS Trusts maintain internal committees and groups as required to develop and facilitate research at the organisational level.

The emergence of the COVID-19 pandemic has placed considerable strain on NHS systems.  To strategically to deliver effective research under these conditions, LHP and the CRN NWC are working collaboratively to strategically prioritise and operationally enable COVID-19 clinical research. As a system we need to act rapidly and at scale to streamline processes across the whole pipeline (identifying/ developing studies, setting up, activation, recruitment and delivery)

To achieve this a temporary command and collaboration structure has been established to deliver a rapid research response for the people of Liverpool and to contribute to the worldwide effort in defeating the disease; the STrategic One Liverpool Partnership for COVID (STOP COVID)


  1. To develop new diagnostics, drugs and treatments for COVID-19
  2. To better understand and address the impact of social inequality on viral transmission, disease and recovery
  3. To understand risks for development of severe clinical disease and protective immunity.
  4. To understand and address the impact of the COVID pandemic on our residents, health and social care services and on other economic issues.

STOP COVID objectives

Research studies:

  • Rapidly identify studies suitable for LHP organisations
  • Effectively prioritise studies to deliver in Liverpool aligned to collective strategic priorities
  • Create a balanced portfolio to include national (Urgent Public Health classified) and local strategically important research studies to deliver maximum system benefit. Including stop/ start of studies
  • Set up and deliver studies quickly and efficiently

Workforce and infrastructure:

  • Prioritise & mobilise the workforce with appropriate skills and expertise at a systems level to deliver the portfolio of studies, monitoring resources to optimise recruitment
  • Proactively prioritise use of physical resources and infrastructure
  • Take a system wide approach to the coordination of research delivery across the City drawing CRN and trust funded research delivery staff. I.e. one research delivery workforce across Liverpool

Other activity:

  • Enhanced support for trusts with existing capacity reporting and planning
  • Coordinated foresight around strategic and operational challenges
  • Clear and streamlined COVID specific operational work programmes (e.g. new processes to enable research)


  • Monitoring and ongoing management of the response programme.

Exit Strategy

  • Plan and implement how the COVID-19 arrangements can facilitate the move to an integrated system level model for research delivery

STOP COVID structure

Operations and Leadership

Intelligence and command flow

The response structure will align with and augment existing national and regional COVID command structures and Trust level controls. Nationally prioritised Urgent Public Health (UPH) studies are classified by the Chief Medical Officer before being regionally prioritised by the CRN NWC. The CRN team meet weekly to assess UPH and non-UPH studies and allocate CRN workforce. The CRN collects data weekly from Trusts on workforce (CRN and non-CRN). Decisions on CRN staffing and recommendations around study operations from this CRN NWC group will feed the STOP COVID pipeline.

Pipeline Operations

Initially a weekly series of activity and meetings has been set with involvement from strategic and operational leaders from across LHP and the CRN NWC. The STOP COVID research response structure will restructure and expand this activity for a 4-month initial period (April – August) to gather intel, map capacity and capability and to strategically allocate studies across LHP.

An adaptive command structure will be adopted with membership updated as required:

Gold: Executive Leadership Group

Aim: To approve recommendations from COVID Rapid Response Group (Silver) around COVID research within the LHP system

Key actions: To receive recommendations from COVID Rapid Response Group (silver) and address escalated issues. Reporting to and accountable to the LHP Board.


  • Clinical Chair- Louise Kenny (LHP Board Vice Chair, HEI lead/ Clinical co-lead)
  • Jane Tomlinson (CRN Chair, CRN lead, NHS co-lead)
  • William Hope (CEIDR Director, Clinical co-lead, Silver lead)
  • Louise Shepperd (LHP Governance Lead, NHS co-lead)
  • Dawn Lawson (LHP CEO, LHP Lead)

Meeting frequency: Once weekly (Friday)

Silver: COVID Rapid Response Group

Aim: To strategically prioritise COVID research for Liverpool

Key actions: Review CRN NWC recommendation and staffing allocation, balance local and national study requests/ grant developments against population need, review scientific and strategic needs, decide and approve research studies to take forward/ stop. Assess system workforce allocation and skill mix (CRN and non-CRN), ensure clear and transparent communications and act as a hub on system intel around activity, need, capacity and capability. Maintain oversight of system wide capacity to deliver existing commitments, escalating issues to Gold as appropriate.


  • Clinical Chair: William Hope (CEIDR Director, HEI lead/ Clinical co-lead)
  • Senior research & clinical: Louise Kenny, David Lalloo (deputies: Bertie Squires & Steve Ward), Iain Buchan, Tom Solomon, Saye Khoo, Enitan Carrol
  • LHP: Stacy Todd/ Tony Marsen (clinical), Rachel Joynes (ops)
  • CRN: Gerry Davies (clinical), Chris Smith (ops)
  • NHS research/ Bronze Lead: Matthew Peak
  • WG leads: Miren Iturriza-Gomara (labs and facilities)

Feed in: Recommendations from CRN NWC, reports from Bronze and working groups.

Meeting frequency: 3 x weekly Monday (workforce focus), Wednesday (scientific strategy focus), Friday (studies and performance focus)

Bronze: Operational Leaders Executive Group (OLEG)

Aim: To tactically monitor the LHP research ecosystem and coordinate study set up and delivery

Key actions: To deliver Liverpool rapid research response pipeline studies. Operational management of day to day workforce management. Review and discuss new studies, review set up of new studies, manage delivery of studies, raise issues, submit weekly workforce figures, work with Trust level infrastructure, maintain and assure information flow to LHP and CRN. Identify and action tactical issues (current and future). To coordinate effective communication and sharing of sharing of best practice


  • Clinical Chair: Matthew Peak
  • R&D Directors (clinical/ ops)
  • SPARK Operations Executive Group (ops- including LHP SPARK, R&D managers, LCTC, CRN NWC)
  • Liverpool Central Labs
  • UoL, LSTM Lab and operational R&D

Meeting frequency: 2x weekly Monday (studies and performance focus) and Thursday (workforce capacity focus)

Feed in: Information from CRN NWC (R&D managers group), SPARK & OEG members

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