Cascading Leadership: Frequently asked questions

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Cascading leadership is a peer-to-peer leadership development programme for those working in health and wellbeing organisations within the voluntary and community sector. Consultants (more experienced leaders) support a partner (a leader working in the sector seeking support) and work together throughout the programme.

Here we outline the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about the Cascading Leadership programme

Cliciwch yma i weld y wybodaeth hon yn Gymraeg 

Who is eligible to take part in the programme?

Cascading Leadership is for leaders working in the voluntary sector around health and wellbeing. To be eligible, you must have organisational leadership responsibility, rather than leading a programme of work. Most previous participants have been chief executives, directors, or equivalent.

Our experience suggests that people who are open, curious and comfortable with constructive challenge benefit most from this programme. 

How do you define ‘health and wellbeing’? 

We use a broad definition of health and wellbeing. We recognise the impact of, social, economic and environmental conditions and relationships on physical and mental health. Your work should aim to help people take care of and improve their physical or mental health, their sense of wellbeing and/or their connections with others. For example, your organisation might work to reduce the occurrence of ill health by delivering health and care services alongside addressing the wider determinants of health inequalities. 

Previous participants have come from a wide range of organisations including charities that work with particular physical and mental health conditions, and organisations that support carers, refugees, and those affected by domestic violence or sexual exploitation. 

Are trustees eligible? 

Trustees are not eligible for the Cascading Leadership programme. 

Are self-employed people eligible? 

No. To be eligible for the programme, you must be employed by a voluntary and community sector (VCS) organisation. 

I work for a community interest company, social enterprise or community organisation – am I eligible? 

Yes. The organisation does not have to be a registered charity, but it does need to be a not-for-profit organisation.  

I’m looking to set up or expand my consultancy business. Is this programme for me? 

No. The Cascading Leadership programme supports voluntary and community sector organisations to develop their leaders. It is not designed to help people set up their own businesses.  

Which role should I apply for?

Both roles have valuable development opportunities and offer shared learning.  

Those who apply for a consultant role tend to be:  

  • experienced leaders, mostly chief executives with existing leadership skills and senior management experience
  • keen to develop their ability to support and challenge others to reflect, and help them work though the issues and problems they are facing 
  • interested in reflecting on and developing their practice to support their own organisations and the wider health and care sector.  

Partners may be leading an established organisation, but are perhaps new in their role or just feeling stuck or unsupported. They may be:  

  • isolated and want to talk confidentially about their experience of developing or leading an organisation
  • struggling to address the gap between how they want to work with their team, volunteers, trustees or funders and how things are in reality 
  • keen to learn from another leader outside their organisation, who can listen and help them think through and plan.

Sometimes those who have benefited as a partner go on to develop as a consultant. If you’re not sure which role to apply for, email the programme team

Additional information

How much does it cost? 

There is no charge to take part in this programme, which is being funded by The National Lottery Community Fund. We will cover the cost of travel to London and overnight accommodation if necessary. We will also reimburse the cost of travel to consultant/partner meetings.

How much time would I have to commit? 

Consultants attend one two-day workshop and two one-day workshops at The King’s Fund in London. Partners attend one learning day at The King’s Fund. In addition, the pairs must meet five times. Each meeting should last up to two hours. The consultant will usually travel to the partner’s organisation, but you can agree to meet elsewhere if convenient. Some sessions may take place over Skype. 

Do I have to tell my board that I’m applying for this programme? 

Yes. You would be participating on the programme on behalf of your organisation. If your application is successful, you will be asked to complete a short agreement form, which will need to be signed by a trustee. It is your responsibility to ensure that the work you undertake complies with your organisation’s policies, procedures and ways of working. 

What happens if I leave my organisation halfway through the course? 

The Cascading Leadership programme is designed to help VCS organisations develop their leaders. If you leave your organisation and the sector, you might have to withdraw from the programme. However, if you move on to another VCS organisation, you can stay on the programme as long as your new trustees agree. 

How do you match consultants and partners? 

We aim to ensure that participants are matched with someone within two hours’ travel time from either their home or organisation and not in direct competition with their work. We also consider organisation size, skills, previous experience and organisational challenges. 

When will I hear if my application has been successful?

We will let all applicants know about the decision by the end of January 2020.

Want to find out more?

If you have any further questions, or would like to make an enquiry about the Cascading Leadership programme, please email the programme team. 

Email the programme team