The Academy approach follows a well-established model in industry where talent is identified, managed and developed to create an effective succession pipeline for key roles.
In the NHS we have increasing challenges identifying senior leaders able and ready to take on some of the more enduringly complex roles in challenged NHS organisations. Much work is being done to create a temporary solution to this shortage, but the problem is one of sustained underinvestment in developing skilled leaders at every level in the NHS. Without a more structured, robust and informed strategy to address this problem we will need to keep undertaking short term fixes to find the right candidates for key roles.
The Academy is in a position where the complexity of a leadership role is more understood, and we are working with two internationally respected consortia able to deliver high quality leadership training and skills development, in the context of healthcare. Having the right number and quality of leaders at every level is no accident and the NHS needs to be at least as rigorous in developing talent as any other industry. Our programmes ensure people are properly trained to fulfil the roles they aspire to and there is more likelihood of a more consistent level of success in these roles. It also creates a more robust pipeline of talent, who have properly gained skills, experience and competence in their roles, have a structured and assessed development programme matched to their career progression and so a greater degree of confidence in securing a more senior role.
The professional leadership programmes form the Academy’s main intervention to achieve the professionalisation of leadership in healthcare – to insist that leaders are properly developed to qualify them for leadership roles before taking them up. If leaders are ever to be taken seriously in their roles, if the profession is to be recognised as a crucial contributor to a great health service rather than a burdensome cost then the discharging of leaders’ roles and responsibilities should carry the same requirements for demonstration of fitness to practice, as other professions across the NHS.