Building collaborative leadership across health and care organisations

This content relates to the following topics:

Integration and collaboration are central features of current health care policy. The NHS long-term plan has confirmed this by stating that all parts of England will be covered by an integrated care system (ICS) by 2021.

Integrated care systems and other place-based developments require NHS leaders and staff to shift their ways of working and adopt a more collaborative style. This is no easy task in a financially constrained environment.

Who is it for?

This programme is for senior staff of NHS providers, chairs and chief operating officers of clinical commissioning groups, directors of public health, and experienced senior directors and clinical leads working in an ICS, sustainability and transformation partnership or place-based leadership team who really want to maximise the opportunities of working with peers across an ICS or integrated care partners.

Great programme. The mix of learning new skills linked to integrated care policy developments was useful. Good speakers and networking opportunities.
Chief executive, NHS Provider

How will you benefit from this programme?

You will:

  • gain knowledge of models and frameworks that support a more collaborative style of leadership
  • have the opportunity to identify how you individually can make a tangible difference as a collaborative leader in your local health and social care system
  • develop strategies to help you overcome local challenges that may be hindering a more collaborative operating model
  • gain a better understanding of different organisational perspectives
  • have the opportunity to participate in a national network with other NHS and social care leaders.

What will you do on this programme?

The programme will provide you with protected space to develop the skills and behaviours associated with a more collaborative style of leadership and to explore the style, culture and behaviours within your own organisation and your local health and care system.

You will have a telephone conversation with the programme director four to six weeks before the programme begins to identify your personal goals and ambitions; this information will be used to design the detailed content of the programme. 
The programme will run over seven months and comprises four modules – one two-day module (module one) and three one-and-a-half-day modules (modules two, three and four).

There will be a maximum of 16 participants.

Previous contributors have included:

  • Rt Hon Jacqui Smith, Chair, University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust
  • Professor Sir Chris Ham, former Chief Executive, The King's Fund
  • Baroness Dido Harding, Chair, NHS Improvement 
  • Mark Devlin, Chief Operating Officer, Unicef UK

Programme structure

Module one: Defining you and the system

  • Exploring the different organisational interests and perspectives in your system
  • Agreeing principles for working collaboratively
  • Examining the local ‘dialogue’ and what you may do to shift stuck patterns of behaviour

Module two: System and place-based leadership

  • Developing a collaborative leadership mindset
  • Enhancing your dialogue skills
  • Identifying core leadership capabilities for working across ‘place’
  • Clarifying the shared purpose for working together 

Module three: Power, politics and decision-making

  • Understanding the neuroscience behind our behaviour
  • Exploring the difference between old power and new power...
  • Designing decision-making processes and holding ‘generative’ conversations to produce tangible change
  • Creating conditions to support collaboration

Module four: Building and developing your collective impact

  • Co-ordinating and collaborating across organisational boundaries in the absence of stable structures 
  • Operating models across and within organisations to support greater collaboration
  • Designing your own model of collaborative leadership

Programme team


Nicola Walsh

Assistant Director of Leadership and Organisational Development


Stephanie de Sarandy

Leadership Associate

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