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Our ambition is to empower our OD community to be capable in all aspects of OD practice to meet our transformational challenges head on. We have successfully developed and tested the OD Claiming Practice approach – to develop a model that allows our OD practitioner community to ‘claim their practice’. The ‘claiming practice’ approach puts you – the OD practitioner – at the centre of your work.

About the project

The OD System Level Competency Validation Project started at the NHS NWLA in June 2016 and involved designing an approach in which OD practitioners are able to demonstrate their competence in the field of practice.

The North West region is at the forefront of public sector transformation in England and as such needs to deploy its OD capacity effectively and wisely by nurturing and developing its talent. Ensuring the continued availability of high calibre OD professionals within the public sector is crucial to our transformation agenda. The OD Competency Validation Project is intended to support the identification, self- assessment and development of the talent pipeline of OD practitioners through the development of the OD Competency Validation Process.

Key Objectives of the project:

  1. To design an approach in which OD practitioners are able to demonstrate their competence in the field of practice. Dr. Maxine Craig developed and facilitated a workshop which was a key part of the testing phase, for Phase 1 – Making your claim of competence – Enabling OD practitioners to understand the process of making a claim of OD Systems level of practice and competence and for the NHS NWLA to pilot the validation process for those claims.
  2. To enable the system wide leadership to appropriately deploy its internal OD capability to support the transformation which is underway across all public services in the North West.
  3. To enable the NHS NWLA to provide the necessary support and development for OD practitioners undertaking the system level OD work.

The programme was designed to identify and develop existing and potential System Level OD practitioners. The NHS NWLA competency framework supports the development of all levels of OD practitioner development in the region and is a great developmental / competency recruitment tool.

Approach to the project

At the end of the Phase 1 workshop a small number of OD participants made their verbal claim that they were either ‘System ready’ (working with multiple organisations and stakeholders, on the transformation programmes underway in the region) or would be ‘With development within the next 12 months’. 

Phase 2 ‘Validating your claim’ resulted in senior OD professionals submitting their OD Competency claim for Validation at a ‘System Level’ of practice. The purpose of this was to enable the NHS NWLA to successfully pilot the OD Competency Validation concept and process. The participants utilised the NHS NWLA OD Competencies & CIPD (2015) Profession Map Behaviours. Colleagues started in February 2017 to gather their evidence-based portfolios in preparation for making their claim of competence and were supported by the NHS NWLA to be ready to submit their portfolios for review internally and then externally by an expert panel of OD System level practitioners. 

Once submitted they attended a validation panel consisting of National and International Senior OD practitioners / Occupational Psychologists / Behavioural Science specialists and Transformation experts.


Ultimately the benefits of undertaking this project will include helping to assure the work of OD practitioners, provide a self-assessment process to help OD practitioners assess current competency, identify development needs, support the recruitment of OD practitioners across the North West. We aim to support executives to assure that the practitioners supporting system transformation work are capable of the demanding role. 

More information

Read our Leader articles from Autumn and Winter 2017 for more about the development of the project and the participants’ experience.

Postcards from America In October 2018, we followed Deborah Davis, NHS North West Leadership Academy Managing Director, Maxine Craig and Karen Dumain, NHS Leadership Academy National OD Lead, on their trip to the USA for the ODN Annual Conference. Watch the digital postcards from Deborah to find out more.

If you would like any additional information please get in touch via email at

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