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Go Back Leading for System Change | NHS Leadership Academy

Leading for System Change provides practical, place-based support to help build collaborative leadership thinking across all areas of Integrated Care Systems (ICS). It supports cross sector teams that are working on complex issues relating to ICS strategic priorities.

The aim is to build understanding and expertise within each system of what it means to work at a system level and to encourage new ways of working that will lead to better outcomes for patients.

“Systems will have a central role in helping design new models of care and major service changes, to deliver better population health outcomes.”

We are the NHS: People Plan | NHS England 


Leading for System Change is a set of flexible components, tailored to the needs of a particular ICS and delivered within that locality. It aims to develop and extend the capacity for system-wide thinking and action within an ICS, thereby helping to fulfil the aim set out in the NHS Long Term Plan to “bring together local organisations to redesign care and improve population health, creating shared leadership and action”.

The programme brings together system leadership knowledge and principles with their practical application to enable colleagues to work together on deep-seated, complex issues that form part of the ICSs priorities. It is recognised that to meet current and future challenges, we will need to embed system leadership working in true collaboration, irrespective of organisation.


Participants in this offer will:

  • be more confident and aware of the behaviours that encourage and enable system leadership
  • demonstrate system sightedness in their behaviour, mind-sets and attitudes, based on appreciating and engaging with multiple perspectives
  • have a range of skills and tools to apply and further their learning about systems and leadership in systems
  • choose leadership approaches which build trust, empower others, share risk and foster collective accountability
  • seek opportunities to connect across boundaries, build empowering relationships and networks to deliver a shared vision for change

The support offer combines theory and ideas with practical application, based on two elements: Orientation and Discovery.

The Orientation phase is the gateway into the process and will equip participants with an understanding of the fundamentals of what a system is, approaches to system thinking, characteristics of systems, the implications for managing and leading within them. The Discovery phase presents the opportunity for participants to apply their learning to the real challenges they are grappling with day-to-day in their system. Participants will identify plans or tests of change, implement actions, observe and reflect on impact and new learning, identify where new knowledge and understanding has been acquired.

Participants will be able to apply their learning immediately as well as over time, enabling them to learn and adapt as necessary. They will be working with others across their system, with a focus on collaboration, collective leadership and shared learning.


For further information on this offer including the full eligibility criteria please visit the NHS Leadership Academy website.

We are welcoming enquiries from Systems or Places in the North West for cohorts in 2021/2022. Please contact our System Leadership team at

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