The Regional Talent Boards (RTBs) were created to understand and balance senior level ‘demand’ (vacancies) and ‘supply’ (people).
The work to establish RTBs started in the Midlands & East in March 2017. From April 2019, 5 RTBs will be in operation: Midlands and East, North, South West, South East and the London RTB.
There are some core principles that underpin all of the RTBs:
- They are ‘of the region, for the region, by the region’. We wanted to make sure that each region’s organisations and the senior leaders that run them should be at the heart of the RTBs and their work, setting the agenda as much as possible and taking collective ownership for its delivery
- The CEOs, accountable officers, chairs and HR directors from these organisations should be supported by and working hand in glove with their senior peers from the Arm’s Length Bodies – NHSI, NHSE and HEE. In effect a ‘One NHS’ approach with a shared commitment to the same ambition and speaking with one voice
- Inclusion, and the intent to use talent management to improve the diversity of leadership, especially at senior levels, should be at the heart of the RTBs’ work
- There will be a core programme of work that all RTBs will adopt and deliver (so that we have a level of consistency that supports a coherent national approach to talent management) but that alongside this each RTB will identify its own additional regional priorities. In some cases these might be to address issues specific to a single region; in others it may be that one region leads on behalf of all and then the work is rolled out and incorporated by the others
- This is not a ‘programme’ of work with a defined end point – this is about putting in place the resources and operating model for talent management at regional level, establishing it as part of business as usual for all organisations, STPs/ICSs and regions
Each RTB has great representation from CEOs, AOs, chairs and HRDs (and is chaired by a CEO or chair), alongside the NHSI/E regional directors and their senior teams and supported by the national and local Leadership Academy teams.
There is a real sense of everyone uniting around a common cause to do their best for their regions, and a recognition that while it’s vital to embed the systems, processes and infrastructure that’s needed for talent management to be done well, perhaps more important is the work to shift the collective culture,mindset and behaviours relating to talent management.
This means everyone committing to the idea that ‘talent’ should be shared, rather than jealously guarded at organisation level. It means commitment to a clear definition of what we think ‘good’ looks like, especially when describing what knowledge, skills, attitudes and behaviours we want in our senior leaders. It means we need to collect and share high quality data to help us understand and balance ‘demand’ and ‘supply’ – and sign up to a level of transparency and collaboration that isn’t currently common practice. And it means that while we will look to all organisations to take action to improve their talent management approach, it’s incumbent on those of us in NHSI, NHSE, HEE and the Academy to create the conditions and provide the support to enable them to do so.