Inclusion is core to the NHS Constitution, yet it remains one of the biggest challenges that health systems face globally, nationally and systemically.
In the face of a growing body of evidence, which demonstrates the critical role that inclusive leadership plays in ensuring that health and care systems operate most effectively for patients and public, it is incumbent upon us to ensure that leaders at all levels are equipped and capable of leading inclusively and effectively.
Building Leadership for Inclusion (BLFI) is a new and ambitious programme of work that will inform a future ten-year strategy, led by the NHS Leadership Academy, which is aimed at health and care staff. Its purpose is to update and inform leadership thinking, practice and, crucially, to make progress on the work of inclusive leadership development for individuals, organisations and the systems working within and across NHS-funded health and care. The work is a key part of a nationally agreed framework with the express aim of changing cultures to ensure all staff are listened to, understood and supported – and that leaders at every level of the health and care system truly reflect the talents and diversity of people working in it and the communities they serve.
The NHS Leadership Academy has three strategic aims for inclusion across health and care, against which all leadership development interventions and strategies are measured. These are to:
- Raise the level of ambition on inclusion
- Quicken the pace of change towards inclusion
- Ensure that leadership is equipped to achieve and leave an ever increasing and sustainable legacy of inclusion
Through its workstreams and at pace, BLFI will deliver new knowledge to inform collective learning about how to create inclusive systemic and cultural transformation through leadership and leadership development.
This single-minded vision requires different and new ways of understanding and tackling the challenges that inclusion brings, through a leadership development lens. A standpoint which requires deeper, more meaningful and creative approaches to leadership development than what has gone before.