In April 2023 the WYAAT Executive Group launched a system development programme for aspiring executive leaders. With assistance from the North East & Yorkshire Leadership Academy, the WYAAT Senior Leadership Programme (SLP) was created – the UK's first provider-led executive development initiative.

Cohort 2 will be launched in 2024 and will be extended to include the WY Mental Health and Learning Disabilities Collaborative and WY Community Collaborative.

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Programme overview

The SLP aims to enhance system learning for senior leaders on the career path for executive roles across our provider collaborative by instilling a pragmatic understanding of system thinking. It comprises of five immersive components: online modules, executive mentorship, system learning events, collaborative placements and facilitated catalyst sessions.

While member organisations provide leadership development, these typically confine to internal realms, often lacking cross-sector and inter-professional exposure. Our provider collaborative structures uniquely enable extended learning and experience.

Offering a collective approach to leadership development yields broader benefits, including:

  • Enhancing Talent Visibility: actively nurturing talent pipelines empowers individuals to advance confidently toward executive leadership roles.
  • Fortifying Leadership: investing in colleague development fosters local talent retention and ensures a continuous influx of high-calibre leaders.
  • Experiential Learning in System Dynamics: providing opportunities for talent to cultivate system thinking skills while realising their influence on organisational and systemic levels.
  • Promoting Diversity: proactively cultivating, supporting, and showcasing diversity within executive positions to address disparities revealed in our workforce data.
  • Addressing the Retirement Challenge: implementing succession planning to ensure smooth transitions as Executive Directors near retirement.
  • Retention Challenges: addressing the complex issues facing the NHS workforce, as highlighted in the 2023 NHS Long Term Workforce Plan.

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What do we expect to achieve by delivering such a unique programme?

The programme will aim to create strong, visionary, and effective leaders who can positively influence the health and community care system.

  • Enhanced Leadership Skills: Developing and honing leadership skills in senior leaders, enabling them to effectively lead and manage healthcare teams and organisations.
  • Improved Patient Care: Better leadership leads to improvements in patient care quality, safety, and patient outcomes.
  • Innovation: Encouraging our senior leaders to think innovatively and implement new strategies or technologies to improve healthcare delivery.
  • Strategic Thinking: Equipping leaders with the ability to think strategically, plan for the future, and adapt to changing healthcare landscapes.
  • Team Collaboration: Fostering a culture of collaboration and effective teamwork, which can lead to better communication and coordination among others.
  • Workforce Development: Preparing leaders to mentor and develop the next generation of our people
  • Patient and Staff Satisfaction: Leadership development can positively impact patient and staff satisfaction, creating a better working environment and patient experience.
  • Community Engagement: Encouraging leaders to engage with the local community, wider system to address their healthcare needs and concerns.
  • Organisational Growth: Promoting organisational growth and stability through effective leadership that attracts talent and investment.
  • Long-term Success: Preparing leaders to ensure the long-term success and sustainability of our services.
  • Healthcare Equity: Addressing health disparities and promoting healthcare equity through leadership that understands and acts on these issues.

What are the national and regional drivers?

NHS Long Term Workforce Plan 2023 - Strengthen and support good, compassionate and diverse leadership at all levels.

Leadership & talent management - We also do not currently have a sufficient pipeline of highly skilled and readily deployable senior leaders – a 2018 survey by The King’s Fund and NHS Providers found 8% of Executive Director roles were filled by an interim or vacant, while 37% of trusts had at least one vacant Executive Director post.  Do more to nurture the next generation of leaders by more systematically identifying, developing and supporting those with the capability and ambition to reach the most senior levels of the service.

NHS People Plan 2020/21 – Leadership diversity: ensure the senior leadership (very senior managers and board members) represents the diversity of the NHS, spanning all protected characteristics. Recruitment and promotion practices: It must be supported by training and leadership about why this is a priority for our people and, by extension, patients.

The Messenger Review 2022 - A new career and talent management function for managers. Creation of a new career and talent management function at regional level, which oversees and provides structure to NHS management careers. Encouraging top talent into challenged parts of the system.

WY&HCP 5 Year Plan – Supporting leadership and organisational development. A great place to work: ensuring that staff represent the people we serve, including more ethnic minority employees in leadership roles and staff with disabilities in employment.

WY & HCP Big 10 Ambitions - We will have a more diverse leadership. We will invest in developing our workforce, ensuring they have the skills and tools they need to deliver high quality care, now and in the future.

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