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Listening events

To support our local membership offer, stakeholders and the national strategic review

In August 2020, the NHS North West Leadership Academy (NHS NWLA) hosted three virtual listening events in the region to explore the successes, challenges and leadership priorities experienced by health and care leaders in the North West now and in the future. Members across the region signed up to share their feedback with Deborah Davis, Managing Director/Head of Leadership and Life-long Learning, in order to shape and anchor our leadership development strategy.

The results of this work will support existing and emerging leaders to be the best they can be as they navigate this complex, ambiguous and diverse landscape, which has some challenges but lots of opportunities in this new setting where we now find ourselves.

The findings will support regional and national teams to understand the views of members and key stakeholders on inclusive leadership development and talent management within the current operating environment, and what we should focus on and prioritise in the coming months and the longer term.

The aims of the listening events were to:

  • Engage with North West regional stakeholders to describe and define the impact and implications of Covid-19 on the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, leadership development and talent agendas.
  • Consider, specifically, the implications for leadership and inclusion across all protected characteristic groups, with a specific focus on BAME staff and communities.
  • Consider what actions and interventions might be important to take to support inclusive leadership development and talent in the short, medium and long term.

Each listening event included three randomised break-out groups where participants were asked to discuss and feedback on the following three key questions:

  • What are our current issues and challenges in relation to leadership and talent development?
  • What are the challenges and specific areas of priority to support and accelerate inclusive leadership?
  • What do you need from the NHS NWLA now and in the future?

What shown through in each session is the huge pride felt in how staff and leaders responded during the Covid-19 peak, this included health and wellbeing, organisational development, focus on equality, collaboration and digital transformation. On the other hand, challenges focused on the required action to be taken to lead virtually, measure our impact, supporting recovery and burn out, sustaining compassionate leadership, tackling inequalities in many scenarios (from health to access to technology) and the time or space to seize opportunities.

Participants urged NHS NWLA to seize the opportunity for inclusive leadership development and talent management across the region. Leaders also highlighted the development of system working and digital leadership as what is ‘needed now’, with inclusion leading the way.

A summary of the findings document summarises the key points raised by the participants which will inform and support our work and planning going forward, along with other sources. At the end of the event, we asked participants for one word that captures their aspirations for leadership in the North West going forward: 

Compassionate, Collaborative and more


It is now our priority to validate these findings back with our members, to ensure the results are representative of the region. We are also cascading the results in the region to key stakeholders, networks and groups for their feedback and to aid rich conversations about our future.

The NHS North West Leadership Academy operates as an expert commissioner in the space between local and national and we see ourselves as the translators, ensuring nationally driven initiatives are relevant to local context. Therefore, the results of these sessions will inform our local membership offer and a key part of our input to the national strategic review. The findings have been shared with the national team to input the review in order to develop a strategy that is fit for the future.

And finally, the results have been circulated to our internal NHS NWLA team to inform and input into our local strategy and offers.

Our achievements to date have been co created with you as we adapted and remained responsive to the needs of leaders. We look forward to continuing our journey together into 2020 and beyond.

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