Leadership for improvement — board development programme


A programme to help NHS provider boards develop the knowledge and skills they need to lead and embed quality improvement (QI) at an organisational level — to be delivered between January 2019 and March 2020.

QI methods accelerate the rate and improve the effectiveness of change to deliver positive clinical and operational outcomes for all. They enhance the uptake of evidence-based approaches to care and reduce unwarranted variation. 

The aim of the programme is to enable boards to know what it takes to lead improvement in organisations where QI is a core enabler to delivering the triple aim of achieving improvements in value for money, patient experience (satisfaction and outcomes), and population health.

This new programme builds on the programme pilot and is available free of charge to NHS provider organisations.

How will this programme help your organisation?

By the end of the programme, you should be able to:

  • understand the key characteristics of successful QI methodologies and the role of the board in empowering staff at all levels to continually strive to improve their working practice to deliver high quality, compassionate care for patients
  • understand the cultures and behaviours that are seen in high-performing organisations and how to develop strategies to build capability and empowered leaders at every level through the organisation
  • understand how to build QI into organisational governance identifying the importance of improvement and assurance
  • understand the difference between measurement for improvement and measurement for judgement and how to develop a more robust strategy for measuring data at board level and all levels through the organisation.

What will the programme cover?

  • Organising for improvement: an introduction to the importance of building a consistent approach to quality improvement within your organisation and the cultures and behaviours required to successfully embed this
  • Cultures and behaviours for improvement: to develop an understanding of fostering compassionate, inclusive, collective leadership cultures and behaviours that enables a planned, strategic approach to culture change
  • Governing for improvement: to develop understanding of organisational improvement maturity, their current position, required areas of focus and how to embed improvement into organisational governance
  • Measurement for improvement: to explore the limitations of current popular data presentations used by providers and introduce a more effective approach to assurance.

During the programme you will take part in:

  • Pre-collaborative teleconferences with the supplier and executive sponsor (and chair/CEO) to support tailoring of the module content to the organisation’s requirements
  • A minimum of three half-day board development sessions, with content delivered by experienced, credible board facilitators with experience of delivery in a health setting.

Who should apply?

This programme is designed for NHS providers in England, who are looking to develop a sustainable improvement methodology and a delivery strategy for their organisation. To support successful programme outcomes, the board need to be engaged and willing to participate in a constructively challenging way.

We recommend that 80% of the board should be in attendance at each session, including:

  • chair
  • chief executive
  • finance director
  • medical director
  • nursing director
  • chief operating officer
  • HR director
  • non-executive directors
  • other board members

How to apply

Complete the application form and submit to nhsi.developmentprojects@nhs.net by 2pm on Friday 12 October. Please put the subject: '[Provider name] – Leadership for improvement application' in the email subject line.

We will notify all applying providers on the outcome of their application by Friday 19 October.


Application deadline Friday 12 October, 2pm
Notification of shortlisting Friday 19 October
Telephone interview (if required) Monday 22 October
Successful providers notified (by email) by Wednesday 24 October
Potential meeting of providers and supply design team Tuesday 20 November
Board facilitator to organise initial teleconference with providers to understand challenges and support tailoring of module delivery November/December 2018

Contact us

If you have any queries on any aspects of the programme, please email nhsi.developmentprojects@nhs.net including 'FAO Natasha Scott – LFI Application' in the subject line.

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