NHS Compact

Many thanks for attending one of the recent roadshows to co-create the new NHS Leadership Compact. We had hundreds of people engage with us face to face and via lots of virtual methods. The message was very clear that this had to be simple and to the point, saying what we want to see and what we don’t in terms of leadership behaviour. 

What you see here is the result of all your feedback. Whilst the  format is not finalised, it is envisaged that it will be a single page with click-through elements to the behavioural indicators that sit underneath. 

The words have been refined many times including with subject matter experts, but we want to make sure the message is really engaging so please help us do this. 

Please leave your comments below. The ‘How to Guide’ is not yet completed so any further ideas for what would be helpful to include here would be very helpful.

Our NHS Way Leadership Compact – DRAFT

Leadership: Our NHS Way How to guide

16 replies on “NHS Compact”

  • Thanks for sight of this document. There is nothing within it that I would disagree with. It raises for me two questions – practical application and consistency. We have implemented here a few months ago a code of conduct for managers and leaders. The compact would not replace it as it too philosophical, but could supplement it. Consistency speaks to whether arms length bodies in particular will ensure behaviour reflects this compact. I am sure I won’t be the first to offer a view that that will need a determined change in some aspects.

    toby lewis Contributor
  • I welcome the compact and the huge amount of stakeholder input to create something tangible.
    my hope is this will be adopted at all levels and be taken onboard by all parties. we need to make sure this iis embedded in our programmes and values and behaviours at all levels. Staff need the skills to be ale to challenge in a coaching style those who do not behave in this way .

    Suzanne Harris
  • I have been involved in some of the feedback events and grateful for the opportunity here. The content of the ‘find out more’ slides I think works well. Is clear, and to the point and would support these. I am however less supportive of some of the content on the intro slide – personally ‘our nhs way’ doesn’t work for me and feels grammatically incorrect. The nhs way far better in my own view or even nhs leadership – our way. It sits clumsily. May just be me.

    I do believe and have previously fedback any compact should be for everyone and all nhs staff rather than leaders. Whilst we would recognise all and anyone can be a leader there is a risk this will be seen as only for those in mgt or senior positions

    More fundamentally I feel very strongly that the end para on the intro slide dispels all of the good intent by coming across as very done to and that national organisations are separate from those subject to the compact – reference to direction and non delivery is simply not helpful in this context. Am happy to talk more about this as it actually undermines (for me) all of the good in the draft compact and I genuinely believe will not help it land well

    Karen Martin
  • Like the 1 page infographic. Agree with some of the other comments that we need to be clear how this works for everyone not just capital L leaders. I think it is a bit wordy in places and there is some language that could possibly be softened so it feels less like a set of instructions and more an agreed compact. I would also like to see something about ‘we all make mistakes’, ‘when things go wrong as they sometimes will..’ which gives people a way back from the brink. Otherwise I think we risk destroying someone because they, say, shout at someone on one occasion when under extreme pressure. We need to avoid creating a world where front line people who perhaps take on too much or are overloaded are penalised whilst those who work in much less pressured, more predictable environments criticise their lack of resilience.

    Julie Lowe
  • I have a few thoughts to share….
    I’m really excited about the new Leadership Compact and completely agree it needs to start at the top with our senior leaders and begin to cascade through our organisations.

    We need to consider how this plays into the Talent Management arena, bearing in mind many of us are pilots of the TM diagnostic tool and there are lots of opportunities to embed the Compact there. Also using the Healthcare Leadership Model and strongly linking the compact there when we have many new and emerging leaders accessing this through the leadership programmes.
    The one thing that struck me reading the compact was that it is framed around the ‘we’. It may be worth considering the personal conviction and accountability of an ‘I’ and the strength of commitment it brings if I personally pledge to be….
    I also like the idea of a what we expect to see, what we don’t expect to see and what we would love (over and above expectations) to see in regards to behaviours to help channel behaviours rather than a mix and match approach.
    Thank you for providing the opportunity to be involved. I look forward to seeing this progress!

    Clare Dallaway
  • The compact needs to be for all providers and regulators. I agree with Karen and her view on the last paragraph on slide 1 – are we in this together to improve across the board or not? How will it be known a Trust is struggling to deliver its compact?

    If this becomes a compact for staff to view/hold leaders to account it needs to be far less wordy and more visual. Organisations could then build this into current material – I imagine most organisations support EDI and professionalism to name two so there is likely to be links we can make to our own values and behavioural frameworks, appraisal, leadership development.

    If this is to be more than an initiative we may want to think about how it is embedded through programmes of work such as Well Led (CQC) or performance frameworks – if we want to talk about qualitative inputs we need to think about ways we can measure these which are more than annual staff survey (the most common measurement tool).

    Understanding how this will be embedded so it becomes a piece of OD seems to be a next step.

    Emma Wood
  • Thanks for the opportunity to feed in to the draft. I echo thoughts already mentioning the first page being a good infographic with ‘click through’ options as needed.

    The 3rd point “when we say we will do something – we do it”: I like this. I wondered about adding something to say “and when we cannot, we let others know why we can’t”. Sometimes things/circumstances/resourced etc change and it enables this to be accepted as part of ‘normal’ life.

    At the bottom of the first page: I wasn’t sure what this added. These 3 sentences are there to make a statement. Is this not already covered in the compact agreements? Why is it apart? Comes across as an after-thought and crowds the first page somewhat.

    Slide 3: there is quite a lot of research/evidence on Psychological Safety. I wonder if there’s an opportunity of including this in this slide, point 2 of the Indicators? “we create emotionally safe environments/psychologically safe environments…”. And is there the opportunity to add ‘Emotional Intelligence’ in there somewhere too? It is also well-researched and a term which has become more widespread.
    Also on Slide 3: I think one of the other respondents has commented on this too, emotional intelligence is a key part of living this part of the Compact. However work IS stressful for a lot of us, a lot of the time. Being able to ‘come back from the brink’ (as was so well put by someone else) would be helpful here. “When we don’t get it right, we will apologise and make things right”.

    Overall the Compact is helpful, straight forward and clear. I can imagine sharing this with colleagues and using it as part of development for team members at all levels. I think it is more of a behaviour framework for all, as opposed to one for Leaders. I’d be happy to sign up to it.

    Rebecca Dunkerley
  • Thank you for all of your helpful and generally supportive comments. Whilst the structure and content of the Compact is largely settled now we still plan to review the wording both of the Compact itself and the supporting guidance so we have the opportunity to take advantage of these and future comments.

  • OK, as a Patient Leader/a Citizen Associate/ someone with a long term condition and living with a life changing event, there is nothing here that I did not expect. Nothing that has not been said many times before. Yes, the NHS values are expressed again, and so they should be – but when are we going to strike the balance? Where are the consequences of good and bad behaviour. Where are the teeth in this document? Is there a patient voice here? How about National Voices being a place offering support?

    Julie Southcombe
  • Thank you for sharing and giving the opportunity to feedback. I would agree with the overall comments, fundamentally this is what leaders should already be applying. The success and benefits will be down to how it is implemented, in particular how this blends with Trusts’ already formulated and established approaches and frameworks. I look forward to the next steps

    Michelle Heeley
  • I support the themes and approach contained within the document and also agree with a number of the comments made. I think we need to be broader when we discuss opportunities for flexible working as being more than parent friendly approaches – FlexNHS is a positive movement that has a braoder application and understanding who could support in this arena. I think that’s intended but the wording may need a bit of work to demonstrate that, I recognise this is not an option for all staff delivering patient care as it is for others who are not patient facing however I wonder if the context of agile working (which is broader) could be indicated as an alternative to the pure flexible working as this has historical associations.

    Elspeth Griffiths
  • I attended as a Trade Union representative for UNISON in the East Midlands and I have to say that the ideas behind the compact, as presented in the slides, are very much what I want to see, the ideas reflect the ideals and desires of our members. In fact I commented at the event that if NHS England can lead the leaders into this culture of management and behaviour, then I should be able to retire early. The only obstacle to this is actually translating the ideal into real culture change and how to do it. From a trade union viewpoint, I would obviously encourage early engagement and as an organisation that campaigns for the very ideals presented on the slides ask that UNISON be approached to help with the “how to” stage of this process – we can help.

    The only criticisms, which I’ve seen in other comments and discussed on the day, are around the language used, particularly the word compact (the only other occasion I’ve come across this word was The Mayflower and Pilgrim Fathers) – point being, if it isn’t clear will people understand?
    On the whole highly commendable and looking forward to seeing this (and the core offer) at roll out

    Scott Kingswood
  • Well done for pulling together so many thoughts from the engagement events into a clear and articulated presentation. I am a lover of words but many people engage with other forms of presentation and I look forward to seeing the 1 page infographic.

    The final 3 sentences on the 1st slide describe the relationship between arms length bodies and NHS provider organisations. This is important to articulate but does it need to be here – or can it be a find out more section and expanded for clarity? Or is this a separate piece of work/implementation of the compact? As described in the How to Guide the AL bodies will be assessed against the compact, and local organisations need to create their own locally owned agreements – do these sentences on the slide create a vision of the outcomes of the compact? These sentences could be the find out more to the vision of how we will better work together?

    Thank you again for this important piece of work that is positive describing a hopeful future.

    Ceinwen Mannall
  • This is excellent and very welcome and applicable to everyone anywhere in the system

    Melanie Iles
  • The compact is what many trusts have in place already but it is good to have a national lead that we can ALL be accountable to including NHSE/I … my only issue is that there are too many sub-behaviours … with this less is more for people to digest and ‘get it’.

    Tony Kavanagh
  • I really like the compact and it chimes with many of the aspirations we want for our leaders. Just a personal reflection I wonder if the first area around ‘discrimination’ could talk more about how we want everyone to ‘belong’ within the NHS no matter their difference. Although I absolutely agree with the need to eliminate discimination of any kind, of course, I just wonder if this is more about ensuring all feel included and concentrating on this which feels more positive rather than concentrating on discrimination. It might be that this could be a future development as we have a long way to go but thought it was worth just suggesting.

    Katherine Robinson

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