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Clinical+Leadership+in+the+NHS

Sefton Provider Service managers and Clinical Leaders Development Programme

The Brafferton Group designed and delivered two cohorts (each of 1 year duration) of development programmes for Sefton Provider Services.

Each programme comprised a group of 30 clinical leads from the Primary Care Trust’s Therapies, Adult and Children’s Services

Action Learning was at its core. Service leads worked in four cross service sets, focussing on Change and Service Development projects identified and sponsored by the organisation.

The participants had been identified by the senior management team as pivotal to the success of Provider Services in developing their management/leadership behaviours, their confidence and competence and the performance of their services. The PCT had recently experienced a merger, necessitating integration of the geography of Southport, Formby and Sefton.

The participants were experiencing significant changes to role and work bases, post re-structuring, alongside the ongoing challenge of combining a clinical case load with a management role, and felt themselves to be “the buffer between the senior team and the workforce”.

Launch Day: It’s purpose:

  • Introduce Action Learning concepts and processes process
  • Form Sets and have a ‘taster’ session
  • Input from the Director of Provider Services: the Change Agenda and organisational challenges
  • Focus on identified ‘project’ (to be identified with manager, as appropriate)

Working in Sets – participants met for 6 (whole day) Set meetings at 6 weekly intervals. In addition to the set process participants drew on the ‘common language’ of MBTI, contributing to the quality of the set’s questioning and awareness of diversity. The shared experience and learning of the workshops also embellished the Set experience.

Workshops to support the Programme

  • MBTI Diagnostic Workshop
  • Leading through Change
  • Influencing and Negotiating
  • Image and Self Presentation

It was agreed with the Director of Provider Services that MBTI would be employed as ‘the common language’ of the programme. Type difference was referenced in all subsequent workshops, particularly in ‘Change’ and ‘Influencing’. This embedded the learning and practical inter-personal application of the approach. The other workshop topics were identified and agreed in response to the themes of problems / issues brought to the Set meetings. Transactional Analysis and Emotional Intelligence concepts were also a part of these workshops.

Here is a participant comment from TBG’s evaluation of this programme, a participant, Elaine Heague, School Health Team Leader at NHS Sefton Community Health Services wrote:

“Thanks for the last 9 months. I can honestly say that the Action Learning approach, the underpinning knowledge I’ve gained and the confidence I have now, has made this the most beneficial professional development I’ve undertaken. And its been great fun! A million thanks”

A year after the completion of the programme she reported:

“I still use the skills daily. I have introduced monthly action learning (to direct reports) and the results within the team are brilliant. All staff are working to shared goals at a much higher level and I will be forever thankful to you for the time you spent with me last year.…..I hope your consultancy continues to make a difference to people like me”.

It is also particularly gratifying to know that some Sets continue to meet, self facilitating the process, continuing to feel the positive outcomes of the Action Learning approach.

A significant number of participants of the first cohort sponsored their ‘direct reports’ to attend the second. This embedded the attitudinal and behavioural learning of a significant number of staff in clinical service areas, which has had a positive impact on the culture of teams.

In November 2009 the organisation published a thorough internal evaluation of the second cohort, mainly comprised of Band 7 clinical managers/Team Leads.

95% Strongly agreed that the programme learning had:

  • improved their performance and driven forward service improvement
  • improved individual and team effectiveness
  • helped individuals to identify and work on their strengths and areas for improvement

90% felt that the use of facilitated action learning sets had suited their learning style

Participants were asked if future programmes could be improved to achieve even more benefits:

“I personally feel that I achieved far more…than by accessing short courses e.g. managing groups / teams, managing staff performance, NVQ leadership etc”

“Tighter (organisational) management of the projects, not all Set members thought carefully enough about what to bring. That said, for me personally this was the most effective development I have ever undertaken, it was fantastic and I can see changes in myself and others who I attended with”

“Not sure how the programmes could be improved. The facilitators are key to the effectiveness of the programme therefore good facilitation skills are important. The facilitators on this programme were skilled”