Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Sustainability & Transformation Partnership (BNSSG STP) wanted to know how the STP Chief Executives positively developed relationships could be cascaded to system groups to help solve their most wicked system problems.
BNSSG STP is a partnership of 13 NHS, local authority and community interest organisations working together to improve the health and care system for a population of around 1 million citizens. They have been building collaborative working arrangements since 2016 and have made good progress. There is a partnership (Sponsoring) board in place as well as a forum for the 13 chief executives, a clinical cabinet, a system planning group as well as other governance.
With a substantial programme of transformational change work in place which we are delivering across partners, there was further investment required to develop the level of transparency, openness and trust. This was needed to effectively tackle together the challenges to achieve the ambitions for change. We recognised that a cultural shift was required to move people from the individual organisation focussed way of working to collaboration which in some areas is at odds with the statutory frameworks within which the organisations normally operate.
SCW was commissioned to develop a system leadership development offer to meet these challenges.
We worked alongside the STP programme team to develop a bid to secure appropriate funding from the Leadership Academy. This involved being really clear about the challenges faced by senior leaders, and developing a broad outline proposal for how to meet these challenges including:
• What it means to be a leader in the BNSSG system
• What the role of each individual is in leading system change and transformation at both system and organisation level
• An understanding of the influence and personal impact leaders can have on the collaborative effort, including trust and risk appetite.
• An understanding of appropriate governance for systems working to support progress in the absence of the right statutory frameworks
• Building and brokering strong relationships beyond organisation boundaries
• Negotiating to agree and progress system goals, whilst balancing alignment to organisation objectives
• Supporting cultural change, moving from competition to co-operation and from organisation first, to system first and ability to translate this for their own teams in individual organisations
We developed a programme proposal and commissioned a partner to co-produce a programme of system leadership development. We engaged with senior leaders across the footprint and secured 60 leaders (at executive and director level) to participate in the programme over a six-month period.
• 80% of respondents strongly agreed that they have improved their ability to see the system
• The ability to truly listen effectively was a core focus area and coaching and mentoring was seen as a significant improvement due to the programme
• By the end of the programme no participants disagreed that they can influence the BNSSG health and care system
• The percentage of people who agreed they have a strong network in BNSSG increased from 44% at the start of the programme to 82%.