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ICBs using forums to deliver principles of clinical and care professional leadership

ICBs using forums to deliver principles of clinical and care professional leadership
By Beth Gault
23 April 2024

Three ICBs have created forums to help apply the principles of clinical and care professional leadership (CCPL) within their systems, according to NHS Confederation.

The think tank looked at three systems and how they were applying the principles, almost three years on from when NHS England set out their expectations of CCPL in 2021 (see box).

It found that Leicestershire, Leicester and Rutland ICS (LLR) had established a professional leadership forum, governed by the clinical executive group and whose chair sits on the ICB board.

This ICB established a ‘system senate’ where health and care professionals come together to explore new ways of working and to look at business planning and prioritisation.

Similarly, Norfolk and Waveney ICS created an assembly of 20 members with differing backgrounds to lead on CCPL. This meets monthly to talk through mutual support and learning.

It established a ‘faculty’ which has run several leadership and learning programmes, including an incubator training programme for new leaders to help them understand who they are, what they’d like to do and give them space to do it.

The ICS has also created a monthly journal club for disadvantaged leaders where they review articles together.

Surrey Heartlands ICS established a health and care professional leadership (HCPL) forum, with the intention of developing leaders and connecting people. It also created a development programme called growing system leaders, which is a six-month programme for people across any grade and sector.

This programme features a ‘project lab’, where they tackle real challenges at neighbourhood team level through the lens of CCPL.

In a recent integrated care bulletin, Sir David Pearson, system transformation advisor at NHS England, and Jane Lovatt, physio and associate director for multi-professional improvement and engagement at Surrey Heartlands ICS, said we need to ‘redefine our perception of leadership’.

They said: ‘The evidence is clear that if we want to improve outcomes for local populations, we need to embrace leadership at all levels of an integrated care system (ICS). It takes time and perseverance to ensure the right culture, practical arrangements and resources are in place to bring people together.

Guidance on effective clinical and care professional leadership (CCPL) supports this and sets out five core principles [see box] outlining what ‘good’ looks like.’

They added: ‘Across health and care we need to redefine our perception of leadership and its potential. Not a knight on a white horse, a job title or a deeply medicalised model, but something that can be found in everyone, regardless of their role or background. It is about creating space for listening, dialogue, collaboration, risk taking and trust, which will ultimately enhance outcomes and experiences across health and care.’

CCPL expectations and principles

NHS England published CCPL guidance in 2021, including two core expectations and five principles of what good CCPL looks like.

The core expectations were:

  • Each ICB is expected to agree a local framework and plan for clinical and care professional leadership with ICS partners and ensure this is promoted across the system. 
  • Individuals in clinical and/or care professional roles on the ICB board, including the nursing director or medical director, should ensure leaders from all clinical and care professions are involved and invested in the vision, purpose and work of the ICS.

The principles were:

  1. Ensure that the full range of clinical and professional leaders from diverse backgrounds are integrated into system decision-making at all levels, supporting this with a flow of communications and opportunities for dialogue. 
  2. Nurture a culture that systematically embraces shared learning, supporting clinical and care professional leaders to collaborate and innovate with a wide range of partners, including patients and local communities. 
  3. Support clinical and care professional leaders throughout the system to be involved and invested in ICS planning and delivery, with appropriate protected time, support and infrastructure to carry out this work. 
  4. Create a support offer for clinical and care professional leaders at all levels of the system, one which enables them to learn and develop alongside non-clinical leaders (eg managers and other non-clinical professionals in local government and the VCSE sector), and provides training and development opportunities that recognise the different kind of leadership skills required when working effectively across organisational and professional boundaries and at the different levels of the system (particularly at place). 
  5. Adopt a transparent approach to identifying and recruiting leaders which promotes equity of opportunity and creates a professionally and demographically diverse talent pipeline that reflects the community served and ensures that appointments are based on ability and skillset to perform the intended function.

Source: NHS England

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