Leading in the Devon Health System






A collaboration between  Devon CCG, Devon ICS, the NHS South West Leadership Academy (SWLA) & The Leadership Centre

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Integrated Care Systems are the cornerstone of the 2019 NHS Long Term Plan and pave the way towards new health and care service models for the 21st century, predicated on a more active focus on population health and prevention, and based on an understanding of how the wider determinants of health support people’s wellbeing.

They bring together local organisations and expertise – from across primary care, secondary acute and community care, local government, public health and the voluntary sector – to reconfigure how care is delivered, using shared leadership and action.

The Integrated Care System for Devon (ICSD) is a partnership of health and social care organisations working across Devon, Plymouth and Torbay with a simple vision: equal chances for everyone in Devon to lead a long, happy, healthy lives. 

This programme will bring together leaders from across the health sector in Devon to strengthen relationships and help them support each other to contribute towards achieving the vision and ambitions of the Integrated Care System for Devon. 

Target Audience

Doctors, GPs, Allied Health Professionals, Nurses, Operational/Strategic Managers working at a middle/senior management level in the following healthcare organisations:

  • GP practices in Devon
  • Devon Doctors
  • University Hospitals, Plymouth
  • Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust
  • Northern Devon Healthcare NHS Trust
  • Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust
  • South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust
  • Devon Partnership NHS Trust
  • NHS Devon CCG
  • Livewell Southwest
  • Primary Care Networks
  • Devon CCG
  • ICS Devon

Aims of the Programme

The key aims of the programme are:

  • To elevate and develop system working/collaboration and distributed leadership
  • To develop networking and nurture trusting relationships
  • To prepare leaders across mental health, primary care, secondary care, ambulance service, community care, CCG to work in an Integrated Care System.

The programme approach is based on building awareness, understanding and trust between the participants, on connecting people from across the system and on getting people to experience what operating in a system means through working together on practical, real-time issues. 

Underlying Programme principles

The programme will adhere to underlying principles that we bring to all our work.  This will include grounding what we do in theoretical and evidential rigour, drawing on approaches and frameworks that we have found to be of particular use in developing confidence to work in complex situations.

These will include the systems leadership behaviours in Exceptional leadership for exceptional times; Ronald Heifetz on adaptive leadership; Margaret Heffernan on uncertainty; and Myron Rogers’ maxims[1] around real work:

      • People own what they create: participants will build their confidence through working on a real-time issue for them and through co-coaching 
      • Real change takes place in real work: we will work on fail-safe experiments
      • The people that do the work do the change: we start with the front-line staff and place the emphasis on what they can do, rather than waiting for others  
      • Start anywhere but follow it everywhere: we make a start rather than waiting for perfection
      • The process we use to get to the future determines the future we get: people will have time and space to develop their thinking.

Programme outline

1. Engagement and Co-Design

Starting from Myron Rogers’ maxim that ‘people own what they create’, we will start with having one-to-one online conversations with participants (starting November 2021), to shape the programme content.

2. Programme Delivery

Participants will attend 8 workshops between March and October  2022.  The programme will include a mix of online and face-to-face workshops with opportunities to meet participants (virtually) prior to the commencement of the programme in March 2022.  

Each participant is required to have a ‘real-time’ complex issue they are grappling with and which would benefit from working with colleagues from across the health system.  The programme will be grounded in real work and practical application.

  • Session 1 – The fundamentals: making the system work for you – Wed 16 & Thu 17 March 2022 Face-to-face Residential days 1 and 2
  • Session 2 – Tools in our armoury: Reflective practice and reframing – Wed 11 May 2022 Online day 3
  • Session 3 – Tools in our armoury: Public narrative – Thu 9 June 2022 Face-to-face day 4
  • Session 4 – Using our influence, leading through uncertainty and sustaining change – Thu 7 July 2022 Online day 5
  • Session 5 – Bringing everything together – Wed 13 & Thu 14 September 2022 Face-to-face, Residential days 6 and 7
  • Session 6 – Working together in collaboration – Thu 20 October 2022 Face-to-face day 8

Aligned to Leading for System Change

The programme content will be aligned with Leading for System Change, a programme bringing together colleagues from across the Devon system including health, public, private, independent and third sectors.  There will be an opportunity for participants from the Leading for System Change offer and this programme to share their learning and make connections during day 8. 

3. Evaluation

Following the programme delivery, participants will be asked to support the external evaluation of the programme  – for example asking how well the programme design and delivery has worked for participants; how the programme has built their knowledge and skills; how their system leadership confidence and capacity to work in complexity has developed through the programme; and what the impact has been – changes in behaviours or outcomes that they can point to. 

Facilitator – Debbie, Sorkin Leadership Centre

Debbie Sorkin, National Director of Systems Leadership, the Leadership Centre, will co-design and facilitate the programme.  Debbie Sorkin is National Director of Systems Leadership at The Leadership Centre is a charity with almost 20 years’ experience in strengthening leadership across public services, including in the NHS. Debbie has led the Centre’s work in relation to systems leadership for the past seven years, including managing a national system leadership programme that drew together the NHS, local government, social care and other sectors, and provided on-the-ground facilitation support in order to enable diverse teams to work together in new ways.

Debbie currently leads the in-place systems leadership support for staff across the NHS and other sectors working in Integrated Care Systems. This currently includes being part of the Design and Delivery Faculty on a range of national NHS programmes, including Leading for Systems Change, the Multi-Professional Leadership Programme, and the Health Equalities Partnership Programme. She is already supporting work on Leading for System Change in Devon, and this will align with Leading in the Devon Health System.

In addition, Debbie is a Faculty Member for the NHS Transformation Academy for Large-Scale Change, where she leads on systems leadership.  She undertakes Masterclasses and provides individual and team coaching and facilitation, including as a Cohort Director on the NHS Nye Bevan Leadership Development Programme. Debbie’s focus is commonly on bringing support, challenge and creativity, to help people shift their thinking, find new approaches and identify practical actions in order to make progress in the face of complex situations, difficult histories and traditional cultures.  Debbie also writes extensively on systems leadership, including for the NHS England Guide to Large-Scale Change, and for the reports The Revolution will be Improvised II and (co-authored with Tim Whitworth)  The Revolution will be Customised. Most recently, she has written the module on Leading Across Systems for the NHS Leadership Academy’s Executive Director Pathway.

Express Your Interest

If you are interested in taking part in this programme, please complete the expression of interest survey below by mid-day on Friday 10th December 2021.  One to one conversations for co-design will take place during December and January.

Please note that this programme is fully funded by the South West Leadership Academy.

Expression of Interest

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