Leadership Academy

Case study: Sussex Community NHS Trust

What we did

We are the main provider of NHS community health services across West Sussex and Brighton & Hove. We provide a wide range of medical, nursing and therapeutic care to over 8,000 people a day. We work to help people plan, manage and adapt to changes in their health, to prevent avoidable admission to hospital and to minimise hospital stay. We employ around 4,400 colleagues, ranging from doctors, nurses and allied health professionals to corporate support staff.

We piloted the tool in 3 different areas within the Trust including Healthy Child Programme team, HR Business partner team for Adult Services and Adult Northern Locality team.


Things we learnt

The tool works well but it should be linked to our own appraisal process.  The guidelines should be shorter and really ‘sell’ the benefits of going through the process.  Paperwork to ‘fill in’ should be kept to a bare minimum. People disliked the evaluation paperwork as the length put people off.


What worked well

Staff using the tool found it a good framework for leading conversations, it was clearly set out and easy to understand. It encouraged them to realise what they want in their future career.  It helped them to feel valued and motivated  and to focus on their strengths. They felt this type of approach “is very important, some of the questions push you to think about your future and is critical that everyone should have the opportunity to experience it twice yearly.”

Managers  found this tool helpful because it validated the way they were working as opposed to “giving me a new way of working.” They felt it has really good potential to be useful and that it needs to be built into succession planning and workforce planning.


Challenges to implementing the process

Staff felt possible barriers might be a lack of trust and feeling safe using the process as you would be exposing yourself to another, excessive workloads and time pressures, poor relations with managers and/or poor and unskilled managers, clash of personalities with manager, lack of opportunities and lack of support in the action of any development that has come out of MPC.

Managers felt possible barriers could include: time, knowing your staff well, staff feeling demotivated and fed up with constant change, public criticism and being continually expected to deliver more and more for less, lack of opportunities to deliver objective/fear of making promises we can’t deliver.