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Joint leadership and development framework launched

1 December 2016

HEE working together with partners has developed a framework to drive leadership and development in health and social care.

Changing demands on health and care services are creating different development needs among staff in NHS-funded services in England.

Developing People - Improving Care is the first version of a national framework to guide local, regional and national action to support staff to develop improvement and leadership capabilities to deliver continuous improvement in local health and care systems and gain real pride and joy from their work.

The framework focuses on developing four critical capabilities:

  • systems leadership, for staff who are working with partners in other local services on ‘joining up’ local health and care systems for their communities;
  • established quality improvement methods that draw on staff and service users’ knowledge and experience to improve service quality and efficiency;
  • inclusive and compassionate leadership, so that all staff are listened to, understood and supported, and that leaders at every level of the health system truly reflect the talents and diversity of people working in the system and the communities they serve; and
  • talent management to support NHS-funded services to fill senior current vacancies and future leadership pipelines with the right numbers of diverse, appropriately developed people.

The national organisations behind the framework are supporting it with actions detailed in the document. These organisations have also pledged to model inclusive, compassionate leadership in all their dealings with the service and in their own organisations. The framework will be adapted and improved and regularly reissued, based on feedback from users.

Professor Ian Cumming, HEE Chief Executive, said:

We are delighted to have launched the first ever Framework for leadership development and improvement in the NHS on 1 December.

As the Secretary of State for Health rightly said in his speech to the NHS Providers conference the previous day, we know from evidence and experience that good, effective leadership is vital to address the challenges that we all face in the NHS. These include delivering challenging targets, balance the books and, most importantly, providing high quality care for those using our services.

It is right therefore that the public expects leaders in their Health Service to deliver outstanding performance, but there is a challenge to ensure that we have the leaders we need, now and in the future, who are not put off by the public spotlight and are equipped with the right skills in the right place at the right time. At any one time, there are 160,000 trainees in the NHS and we need to help them to become tomorrow's leaders. Yet for too long, the NHS has not focused enough on the development of the people who make it the world class service that it is, and this framework, called Developing People, Delivering Care, is designed to help address that gap.

I am incredibly proud to work in the NHS and incredibly proud of everyone else who works in it, whether they are in a clinical or non-clinical role. I am determined that every NHS leader should gain pride and joy from the work they do to improve care systems and that is one of the key aims of the framework.

As a starting point, HEE and our partners in this work have made three pledges that I personally commit to as well.

  1. We will model in all our dealings with the sector and in our own organisations the inclusive, compassionate leadership and attention to people development that establish continuous improvement cultures.
  2. We will support local decision-makers through collectively reshaping the regulatory and oversight environment. In particular, we owe local organisations and systems time and space to establish continuous improvement cultures.
  3. We will use the framework as a guide when we do anything at a national level concerning leadership, improvement and talent management so we engage across the sector with one voice.

We know that this will take time and cannot be done overnight. That is why we intend to refine and modify the framework regularly in the light of the thoughts of people from across health and, indeed, social care, as we recognise that it is vital to link up care services in developing leaders, in the same way that care services are linked in the lives of all of us using them. Reflecting the need to be joined up, we have developed the framework in partnership with a wide range of organisations, including NHS Improvement, NHS England and the Department of Health, among many others. I was proud to co-chair the project board that steered the development of the framework with my colleague Ed Smith from NHS Improvement and it is great to see the first fruits of that work.

The NHS Leadership Academy is another of the partners in this work and we were delighted to welcome the Academy as part of HEE earlier this year. Through the Framework, we will be further building on the Academy's existing work to design programmes and support for aspiring leaders, including a focus on inclusive leadership and finding the leaders of tomorrow from under represented groups.

I want to urge people across the health and care sector to have a look at the Framework and let us know what you think and how we can help you to develop leaders in your organisations.