Can generous leadership in the voluntary and community sector support NHS transformation?

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Today, we launch an extension to our Cascading Leadership programme, which provides free support to the leaders of health and wellbeing organisations in the voluntary and community sector. It’s different from other leadership programmes: the support is delivered by someone who also leads a voluntary and community sector organisation, with training and supervision from The King’s Fund. The person receiving the support might be running a smaller or less-developed charity or might just be feeling stuck or in need of new ideas or a confidence boost.

The voluntary and community sector is very diverse, ranging from large national charities to small volunteer-run support groups. All of these organisations play a key role in health and wellbeing – reaching into communities, keeping people well and sometimes picking up the pieces where other initiatives haven’t worked. 

Leaders in this sector are juggling multiple demands, and often struggling to be heard as the NHS is focusing on sustainability and transformation partnerships, integrated care systems and a move towards population health. Their role has become more complex, requiring leaders who are expert negotiators and collaborators, have entrepreneurial flair, and can hold their nerve when funding is tight.

We launched the Cascading Leadership programme two years ago, as a way to help voluntary and community organisations develop their leaders effectively and affordably. We recognised a huge wealth of knowledge, assets and skills within the sector, and wanted to support the wider use and dissemination of this to help meet leadership needs.

The programme was evaluated positively, with both sets of participants gaining a huge amount. It was reported as being ‘transformational’ for many of the organisations receiving support, who felt better equipped to lead their organisations effectively and strategically. For those providing the support, it built their leadership skills, changed the way they worked with their teams and partners, and helped build different relationships in the health and care system. 

We at The King’s Fund also learnt a lot, starting with just how many people would apply for the programme. We were pleased that it was greeted so enthusiastically – with participants seeing both what was excellent about the sector and where it could develop. And we didn’t anticipate some of the ‘spin-offs’. We thought we were supporting leaders, but we’ve found that this programme is also developing hugely powerful collaboration and support across the voluntary and community sector. The Cascading Leadership programme proves that generosity and encouragement can be the norm in a sector that is sometimes criticised for its competitiveness and lack of partnership

The public sector is increasingly looking to the voluntary and community sector and its leaders for greater collaboration and partnership. Our recent report on integrated care systems points out that the systems furthest ahead are those that have prioritised strengthening collaborative relationships and trust between partner organisations and their leaders. However, NHS leaders have said they sometimes find it difficult working with people in the voluntary and community sector, as it’s hard to know where to begin with so many organisations. The same report highlights evidence of limited engagement between the public and the voluntary and community sectors.

Voluntary and community sector leaders are expert collaborators and part of a growing movement, demonstrating their willingness to take on the challenge of transformation. If you are committed to breaking down barriers and creating meaningful engagement, then seek out these leaders. They may not be where you most expect to find them, and you will need to invest time in developing relationships – but the rewards will be more than worth it. 

If you are interested in applying for Cascading Leadership you can find out more about the programme here

The next phase of Cascading Leadership has been made possible thanks to money raised by National Lottery players awarded through the Big Lottery Fund.

Comments

Kate Hampson

Position
GP,
Organisation
NHS
Comment date
24 October 2018

Hi, I’m a GP partner, trying to develop leadership skills, is this for me?

Cascading Leadership

Organisation
The King's Fund
Comment date
24 October 2018

Hi Kate.

The Cascading Leadership programme is for leaders working in health and care organisations in the voluntary and community sector. It would not be suitable for a GP.

We do have several other programmes for clinicians, including Emerging Clinical Leaders, Senior Clinical Leaders and Leadership for Consultants. If you email leadership@kingsfund.org.uk, one of our programme directors would be happy to talk you through the options.

Best wishes,
Reen (Programme Manager)

Robert Smith

Position
CEO,
Organisation
Group Recovery Aftercare Community Enterprise ( GRACE )
Comment date
31 October 2018

Hi
I am the founder and CEO of a small charity in Glasgow . Will i be able to access Cascading Leadership . Will the training and support be local or be provided in England

Thank You
Robert

Kate Bennett

Position
Clinical Lead Community Physio,
Comment date
31 October 2018

So if the course isn't suitable for GPs (who are very much community based) is it suitable for other health professionals working in the community?

JANET KARIKARI

Position
proprietor,
Organisation
Janet Karikari
Comment date
31 October 2018

To know more

Thank you

Cascading Leadership

Organisation
The King's Fund
Comment date
01 November 2018

Hi Robert.

We welcome applications from VCS leaders working anywhere in the UK. The workshops will take place at The King's Fund in London. We will reimburse the cost of travel to and from London and, if necessary, book overnight accommodation. Meetings between consultants and partners can take place anywhere that is convenient for both people.

Best wishes,
Reen (Programme Manager)

Cascading Leadership

Organisation
The King's Fund
Comment date
01 November 2018

Hi Kate.

The Cascading Leadership programme is open to leaders from all health and wellbeing charities, from small start-ups or support groups, to major national organisations. If a health professional is employed by a charity, they are eligible for this programme.

Best wishes,
Reen (Programme Manager)

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