Single insight


Opinion,comments and learning from experts and people using systems leadership
approaches across public services in England. Give us your views using the ‘comment’
box at the end of each article

The past five years have seen seismic changes in the commissioning and delivery of public services. This has meant the NHS, local government, public health, social care, welfare, housing and other sectors coming together to work in new ways.

But transforming services is hard. It involves significant changes to organisational and professional cultures and behaviours, which are often the most essential to make and the hardest to effect.

This is where Systems Leadership comes in. It’s about how you lead across boundaries – between departments, organisations, sectors or places – and when you want to secure large-scale and
sustainable change but you’re not in charge.

For the past three years, there has been a national Systems Leadership programme, backed by national and local government, the NHS, public health, social care and a host of other bodies. Through initiatives called Systems Leadership – Local Vision and Leadership for Change, and latterly in the Health and Social Care Integration Pioneers, they have supported teams in places around England, from towns and cities to entire counties, looking to find new solutions to seemingly intractable problems by radically transforming their approach.

In this report we draw on insights from nearly forty Local Vision places, along with Leadership for Change teams, and use their reflections and views to show what actually happened when they applied Systems Leadership approaches. And we use descriptions from people in the places to illustrate what they did; what it felt like; what worked and what didn’t; where the turning points came; and what the outcomes
have been. These stories reflect the journeys that people have made, and – in many cases – the distance
travelled. People are working with complexity, and this is reflected in the way that progress is back-and-forth rather than steady and linear.

You can read the full report here.