Angela Pedder, lead chief executive of Wider Devon STP, discusses how leaders were supported to work and learn across the system
The health care system in Devon was perceived to be failing. It was no different to other areas across the country, but we’d made our challenges more public than many others. It was time to hold the mirror up and assess the difficulties in relationships between all of the organisations – but in highlighting the problems, we also wanted to provide solutions. One was to offer support to leaders across the system to work and learn together. Here’s how we did it.
We took an inclusive talent management approach in selecting the right people to undertake the development – we want to encourage succession planning across the system, always looking at the pipeline of talent at least two steps away from board level, to ensure we are planning a sustainable workforce for the future, now across a system of organisations.
The Nye Bevan programme
We have had two cohorts of people now commence the NHS Leadership Academy’s Nye Bevan programme; one is almost finished and the other about half way through. Participants are from across the system – large acute providers, smaller trusts, CCGs and local authorities.
Geography has been (and always will be) an issue for the South West. The programme gives staff the opportunity to reach outside of their patch and look at what’s going on nationally across the country in terms of sustainability and transformation planning, which can only be seen as a good thing. The sharing and networking across the NHS and beyond the programme gives the participants a real taste of what’s happening elsewhere. It’s also a great way of sharing different perspectives from areas of the system and workforce that you may not come across ordinarily – clinical/non-clinical; health/social care and third sector; England/international/rest of UK experience.
Although the participants have been incredibly busy undertaking the learning through Bevan as well as in their day jobs, we have had commitment from individuals’ chief executives to support the participants during and after the programme. This will play a critical part of translating learning into real practice. I believe that we will see the real benefits once they have completed the learning and start to put it into their work – this takes time.
Our Local Leadership Academy (LLA) will be crucial in facilitating the support – through praxis groups, coaching and mentoring and networking across the patch to achieve a practical and impactful talent management approach for senior leaders. We are also working with individuals who didn’t get a place on the Bevan programme, either through their own organisation or through interventions from the LLA. It’s also crucial that an honest two-way conversation is had with the participants about their future career progression and their commitment to developing their own potential.
Importance of leadership development and support for STP leads
If you’re leading a system-wide programme of change, you need leaders who can build resilience into that system, change cultures and behaviours, and hold each other to account. Building in formal leadership development such as The Nye Bevan programme can provide the opportunity to recreate system-working in a different forum, developing a network of learning and a community of skilled staff. STP leaders should be looking at ways to develop their leadership abilities, so why not do it together? You can potentially use the development funding more effectively and may even save money! Bevan is the base for learning, but what’s important is what happens back in the patch and this is where chief executive commitment to the participants’ ongoing development is critical.
The NHS Leadership Academy (the Academy) is committed to helping STP footprints develop the leadership necessary to successfully implement plans to transform health and care in their local area. As part of its commitment to supporting the future direction of planning and delivery in the NHS, the Academy is offering STP footprints the opportunity to nominate senior leaders from across their organisations to apply for the next Nye Bevan programme intake, at a significantly reduced cost. To take up this offer, or to discuss it further, please contact Gill Rooke, senior operations manager.
Alternatively, you can find out more about the Nye Bevan programme here.
“It has helped me to be more confident managing greater levels of uncertainty and complexity, work more strategically (and not be pulled into operational details) and be bolder in decision making. A lot of the work is done in learning sets and I can see a leadership growth in us all so that we are more able to support the agenda and challenges for working within the STP.”
Assistant director for community health and care at North Devon County Council and deputy assistant director of health and social Care at Northern Devon Healthcare Trust, and programme participant.