Female and male worker

Co-producing a system leadership development programme to deepen STP/ICS collaboration

Working with the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Sustainability & Transformation Partnership (BNSSG STP), we co-produced a system leadership development programme to help them tackle their most wicked system problems. 


The BNSSG STP is a partnership of 13 NHS, local authority and community interest organisations working together to improve the health and care system for a population of around 1 million citizens. They have been building collaborative working arrangements since 2016 and have made good progress.

There is a partnership (sponsoring) board in place as well as a forum for the 13 chief executives, a clinical cabinet, a system planning group as well as other governance. With is a substantial programme of transformational change work in place that we are delivering across partners, there was further investment required to develop the level of transparency, openness and trust needed to effectively tackle together the challenges to achieve our ambitions for change.

Recognising there is a cultural shift required to move people from the individual organisation focussed way of working to collaboration which in some areas is at odds with the statutory frameworks within which our organisations normally operate. 

The challenge

The STP relationships have positively developed over the last 2½ years, particularly at the chief executive level, and system-level groups are working well together. There was a call to deepen the level of collaboration below the chief executive level to help us to work more effectively to solve our most wicked system problems like urgent care pressures, financial sustainability and workforce. We were commissioned to develop a system leadership development offer to meet these challenges. 

Our approach

We worked alongside the STP programme team to develop a bid to secure appropriate funding from the Leadership Academy and this involved being really clear about the challenges faced by senior leaders, developing a broad outline proposal for how to meet these challenges including:

  • What it means to be a leader in the BNSSG system
  • What the role of each individual is in leading system change and transformation at both system and organisation level
  • An understanding of the influence and personal impact leaders can have on the collaborative effort, including trust and risk appetite.
  • An understanding of appropriate governance for systems working to support progress in the absence of the right statutory frameworks
  • Building and brokering strong relationships beyond organisation boundaries
  • Negotiating to agree and progress system goals, whilst balancing alignment to organisation objectives
  • Supporting cultural change, moving from competition to co-operation and from organisation first, to system first and ability to translate this for their  teams in individual organisations


We developed a programme proposal and commissioned a partner to co-produce a programme of system leadership development. We engaged with senior leaders across the footprint and secured 60 leaders (at executive and director level) to participate in the programme over a six-month period. 

  • 80% of respondents strongly agreed that have improved their ability to see the system
  • The ability to truly listen effectively was a core focus area and coaching and mentoring was seen as a significant improvement due to the programme
  • By the end of the programme, no participants disagreed that they can influence the BNSSG health and care system
  • The percentage of people who agreed they have a strong network in BNSSG increased from 44% at the start of the programme to 82

To find out more, contact Hannah Williams, OD Programme Director - Consultancy, HR & Organisation Development - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



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