Leadership in today’s NHS: delivering the impossible

The King’s Fund & NHS Providers | July 2018 | Leadership in today’s NHS: delivering the impossible

The King’s Fund & NHS Providers report the findings from their  survey of NHS trusts and foundation trusts conducted in 2017 by NHS Providers, the survey used qualitative interviews and a roundtable event with frontline leaders and national stakeholders.


Image source: kingsfund.org.uk

Among the findings from the survey:

  • Leadership vacancies are widespread, with director of operations, finance and strategy roles having particularly high vacancy rates and short tenures
  • A culture of blaming individuals for failure is making leadership roles less attractive. Organisations with the most significant performance challenges experience higher levels of leadership churn. National bodies need to do more to support leaders to take on and stay in these roles.
  • To tackle high leadership churn, national programmes should target professional roles  where concerns over the pipeline of future leaders is greatest. Regional talent
    management functions – largely absent since the abolition of strategic health authorities – should be rebuilt in the new joint NHS England and NHS Improvement regional teams (Source: The King’s Fund & NHS Providers).

The news release from  The King’s Fund  can be viewed here

The summary is available here 

The report can be read from The King’s Fund 

NHS Providers NHS trusts face worryingly high levels of senior vacancies

NHS Providers & The Kin’gs Fund Infographic 



Leadership of allied health professions in trusts: what exists and what matters

NHS Improvement | June 2018 | Leadership of allied health professions in trusts: what exists and what matters

Allied health professional (AHPs) are the third largest workforce, offering significant contribution to quality, productivity and system sustainability. This report shares the findings from a project we commissioned to evaluate current leadership arrangements for allied health professionals (AHPs). It was developed to provide an evidence-based approach to reviewing and improving AHP leadership in provider organisations.leadership-3331244_1920NHS Improvement have produced this report in response to requests from directors of nursing for guidance about developing AHP leadership in their organisation (Source: NHS Improvement).

The news release is available to read from NHS Improvement 

The report is available here 

NHS workforce race equality: a case for diverse boards

This resource is targeted at NHS boards, especially the chairs of NHS boards. It  recognises the important role chairs play in shaping the way members interact, behave, and set priorities – in short, how they establish the culture of a board.

The guide is not about how boards become more ‘representative’. Instead, it is about how a board uses the talents of everyone who sits round the table. It is about how boards capitalise on their diversity.

Full document: NHS workforce race equality: a case for diverse boards

Quality improvement

Establishing quality improvement approaches which actually work has much to do with suitable leadership and organisational culture, according to a new King’s Fund report.


This report explores the factors that have helped organisations to launch a quality improvement strategy and sustain a focus on quality improvement. It identifies three common themes for successfully launching a quality improvement strategy: having a clear rationale; ensuring staff are ready for change; understanding the implications for the organisation’s leadership team in terms of style and role.

The report finds that NHS leaders play a key role in creating the right conditions for
quality improvement. Leaders need to engage with staff, empower frontline teams to
develop solutions, and ensure that there is an appropriate infrastructure in place to
support staff and spread learning.

Full reference: Jabbal, J| Embedding a culture of quality improvement | Kings Fund

Quality improvement

Making the case for quality improvement: lessons for NHS boards and leaders | The King’s Fund | The Health Foundation

This briefing outlines the following ten lessons for NHS leaders which provide a starting point for those seeking to embed quality improvement in their work:

  • Make quality improvement a leadership priority for boards.
  • Share responsibility for quality improvement with leaders at all levels.
  • Don’t look for magic bullets or quick fixes.
  • Develop the skills and capabilities for improvement.
  • Have a consistent and coherent approach to quality improvement.
  • Use data effectively.
  • Focus on relationships and culture.
  • Enable and support frontline staff to engage in quality improvement.
  • Involve patients, service users and carers.
  • Work as a system.

The briefing makes the case for quality improvement to be at the heart of local plans for redesigning NHS services.

Full report available here

National Engagement Service

The National Engagement Service (NES) has developed an infographic to promote understanding of the service.

Including useful statistics and helpful information about the work of the team, the infographic explains how the service supports senior leaders on workforce issues, in order to drive up organisational effectiveness and the quality of care for patients. Delivering engagement across the country through regional networks by:

  • connecting with HR directors to share best practice and learning
  • ensuring that stakeholders are kept up to date on current issues and key developments
  • highlighting opportunities where stakeholders can influence and shape policy
  • stimulate discussion and innovation among HR professionals.
Image source: http://www.nhsemployers.org



NHS trust board good governance maturity matrix

The NHS trust board good governance maturity matrix is designed to help NHS trust boards to self-assess whether they are achieving the expected desirable outcomes of good governance practice. | Good Governance Institute


There are a number of ways this matrix can be used by NHS organisations:

  • as an assessment tool to agree current status
  • as a developmental tool at a board development workshop, whereby members of the board could ‘vote’ where they felt the trust is on the matrix and then, through a facilitated discussion, agree a group decision about current scorings and developmental aspiration within a given timeframe
  • as a benchmarking tool to enable the comparison of NHS organisations and to identify examples of good practice that other NHS trusts could learn from

The Maturity Matrix can be downloaded here