Developing People – Improving Care means we’re more connected with the system than ever before

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The national leadership development framework Developing People – Improving Care was produced by a coalition of teams across health and social care. In advance of our Inspiring Improvement conference on 11 July, Caroline Chipperfield explores how it has contributed to several successes already.

Caroline Chipperfield, Associate Director, NHS Leadership Academy and Director, Thames Valley and Wessex Leadership Academy, discusses working collaboratively to support leadership development in the NHS.

The NHS Leadership Academy - as part of a system-wide network - was heavily involved in developing the framework, along with our stakeholders. Collaboratively we’ve made a strong start in understanding what other people’s roles are in the system, giving us a renewed perspective on where we sit – both within the system and across all the arm's length bodies. It’s been particularly valuable in helping us understand the relationship between ourselves, NHS Improvement and HEE (Health Education England) - having joint senior responsible officers has also been a real success.

I think we can legitimately credit the introduction of the framework with driving an unprecedented level of collaborative working. Scoping how it was going to be realised brought about significant bottom-up engagement with the system, which was particularly rich around the talent management agenda. A series of events with chairs, HR directors and chief executives gleaned insight about what they wanted from a talent management scheme, and what this might look like from an STP support, and system support perspective.

The framework gave the system a specific opportunity to tell us what was missing. That knowledge has informed our strategic objectives into 2017/18 and beyond, giving us a business plan that has probably been more driven by the system than ever before.

The level of collaboration that has gone hand in hand with the framework has positively impacted on the Local leadership Academies (LLA) network, which I think is working more cohesively than ever before. The LLAs feel very engaged and we have joint strategic objectives, which has been critically important.

We’re also seeing successes from a population health perspective. For the first time in my ten-year experience we’ve brought quality improvement and leadership development together and we’re seeing that come to fruition. Phase one of the culture and leadership programme that NHS Improvement has developed is a good example, which sits alongside a piece of leadership development. We’re piloting this in East of England, with the LLA and NHS Improvement working together.

We’ve been siloed by historical ways of working and we’re trying to say that actually, system improvement and development needs to be seamless. That includes clinical senates, academic health science networks, the regulators and NHS England.

The board which supports the implementation group is co-chaired by Ian Cumming and Ed Smith and made up of senior colleagues from across the system. Bottom-up development is critical, but continuing to ensure that senior level staff engage is important because they will help influence and drive a compassionate leadership culture. That’s the challenge around the pledges we’ve all signed up to; making it real from an organisational development perspective.

This work is exceeding any political boundaries and driving a partnership that I hope continues for many years.

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