One of the biggest issues facing local public services is the integration of health and social care


LeadershipA programme which targets community-wide “wicked issues” such as reducing alcohol misuse has opened to a new range of applicants.


A second wave of applicants are being sought to take part in the Leadership Centre’s Systems Leadership – Local Vision project. Applications are welcome from across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors. Each of the new projects will receive £27,000 in direct funding, alongside a commitment of further funding of £10,000 from the local health and wellbeing board.


Each project receives support from an experienced enabler, specialising in systems leadership approaches, to help the leaders in each project come together and deliver successful results. This time, funding will also be extended to make systems leadership approaches and expertise available to the health and social care pioneers around the country.  To ensure that lessons are sustained, success programmes commit to applying what they learn about systems leadership to other issues and to sharing learning so others can benefit.


The first 25 programmes, which were chosen last year from more than 40 applicants, covered a broad range of issues, from improving safeguarding for adults and children and integrating services for older people, to reducing alcohol abuse and boosting exercise levels amongst a local population.


They brought together people from local government, the NHS, public health, social care, and other services, in order to create new ways of working and achieve measurable improvements in health, care and wellbeing.  As a result, there has been better integration across health, social care, local government and police services to support safeguarding; stronger networks between food producers and consumers to reduce waste in local food production; and commissioners working more closely with service users, carers and the voluntary sector.


Sir Merrick Cockell, Chairman of the Local Government Association, said:


“One of the biggest issues facing local public services is the integration of health and social care. The Better Care Fund is a good start but with people working in different places and organisations, with different cultures, we need local leaders to work together for the benefit of their communities.”


Nottinghamshire County Council ran a systems leadership project which supported a multi-agency safeguarding hub (MASH).  Deputy Chief Executive Anthony May said:


“The creation of Nottinghamshire’s MASH offered an excellent opportunity to implement Systems Leadership to solve a number of challenging issues. The support of the Leadership Centre allowed us to take a holistic, collaborative and flexible approach to improving processes, integrating across boundaries and freeing up capacity.”


Felicity Owen, Director of Public Health in Cornwall, oversaw their systems leadership project around reducing food poverty.  She said:


“Being part of Systems Leadership – Local Vision has been invigorating, fun and is developing great outcomes, keeping local voices at its heart and making a real difference to creating food wealth.”


John Wilderspin, Co-Chair of the Systems Leadership Steering Group, said:


“Many of the first 25 programmes are already demonstrating the ability of systems leadership approaches to break down organisational barriers to integration. This new funding, which is coming from across government, the NHS, social care, public health and children’s services, is testament to the recognition across government of the central role that systems leadership can play in transforming services.”


Martin Reeves, Chief Executive of Coventry City Council and Co-Chair of the Systems Leadership Steering Group, said:


“I have said before that we are in the middle of a quiet but powerful revolution, and that up and down the country, more and more places would be looking at new ways of tackling old problems. That revolution is happening right now: it’s called systems leadership, and it could be your place, and the people in it, that benefit.  I would strongly encourage health and wellbeing boards to apply for systems leadership funding, so that we can all drive change and achieve the integration that patients and service users are looking for.”


Sharon Allen, CEO of Skills for Care and the National Skills Academy, said:


“People who need care and support want services centered around their needs so we would urge adult social care employers to think about becoming partners in a bid for a Systems Leadership – Local Vision grant which offers the support of an enabler who will bring invaluable system change expertise into an organisation.”


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