Delivering Quality Through Leadership: NHSScotland Leadership Development Strategy

Strategy to developing NHSScotland Leadership and so deliver quality.


5.1 The Leadership Board

The Leadership Board has the strategic role for setting national policy for leadership across NHSScotland and for ensuring a clear connection between the corporate agenda and leadership development priorities. It also fulfils a quality assurance role, holding the service to account for the quality of leadership and effectiveness of leadership development.

Chaired by the Chief Executive of NHSScotland, the Leadership Board is accountable to the SGHD Management Board for the delivery of its purpose.

Terms of reference:

  • Provide strategic direction for the implementation of Delivering Quality through Leadership including evaluation of the impact.
  • Set the tone and clarify the expectations and required standards for leadership and leadership development across NHSScotland.
  • Identify the critical leadership gaps and development needs at a national level to ensure service quality and delivery on a sustained basis.
  • Facilitate access to networks relevant to the aims and objectives of the programme.
  • Ensure financial governance in the allocation of the budget for this programme of work.

Modus operandi:

  • The Leadership Board should act as an interface between the Government and NHS Boards, ensuring that local views and interests in current delivery and future direction are taken into account in shaping leadership and leadership development priorities.
  • The size and composition of the group should enable a discursive and exploratory approach while ensuring robust governance of and accountability for leadership development.
  • The group will meet twice a year.
  • Action points from the Leadership Board will be formally reported to the SGHD Management Board and discussed at the following forums in order to enable wider inclusion and alignment: NHS Chairs' group, Chief Executives' group, functional groups, and NHSOD Leads meeting.
  • The work of the Leadership Board should inform and support the Advisory Committee structures for national leadership development work streams and vice versa. There should be representation from these Advisory Committees on the Leadership Board.

Further work will be undertaken to devise a formal constitution for the Leadership Board.


Proposed membership of the Leadership Board is as follows:

  • Director General Health and Chief Executive of NHSScotland (Chair)
  • Director of Workforce, SGHD
  • Director of Delivery, SGHD
  • Chair of NHS Chairs' Group
  • Chair of Chief Executives' Group
  • Chief Executive of NES
  • Head of Leadership, National Leadership Unit
  • Nominees from HR Directors' group, Executive Nurse Directors' group, Finance Directors' group, Medical Directors' and Public Health Directors' group
  • Representative from Scottish Partnership Forum
  • Representative from Public Sector Leadership Development Collaboration
  • Chairs of Advisory Committees for national leadership work streams (additional members)
  • External expert(s) from Higher Education (additional members).

5.2 The National Leadership Unit and Team

The Head of Leadership and Leadership Team will be based in NES and form the new National Leadership Unit. The separation of functions, i.e. steering from the commissioning and delivery, strengthens governance and accountability for leadership development.The Head of Leadership is held accountable by the Leadership Board (on behalf of the Scottish Government Health Directorates) for implementation of Delivering Quality through Leadership and for the commissioning and delivery of leadership development. In addition to reporting to the Leadership Board, the Head of Leadership will meet on a quarterly basis with the Director General Health and Chief Executive of NHSScotland to discuss progress in implementing the strategy.Purpose of the National Leadership Unit and team:

The purpose of the National Leadership Unit is to:

  • Support the development of policy and strategy for leadership development across NHSScotland.
  • Lead the implementation of Delivering Quality through Leadership - to improve leadership capability and nurture future leadership capacity in support of Better Health, Better Care.
  • Manage resources provided for the purpose of leadership development and co-ordinate the NHSOD Leads and professional leads to make the most effective use of these resources through the alignment of national and local endeavours around leadership development.
  • Work with and support colleagues across Scottish Government Health Directorates in leadership development to develop an inclusive approach to allied leadership initiatives.
  • Build strategic partnerships with other NHS partners, wider public sector organisations, and provider and research organisations in Scotland and across the UK to support leadership development.
  • Provide advice on leadership theory and practice to support NHSScotland leaders (individual, team, network, organisational and system-wide) to deliver service improvement and strategic goals.

Ways of working:

Building on success to date, the Leadership Team will continue to:

  • Work with our partners in a collaborative and consultative way.
  • Build effective links with the OD network across NHSScotland.
  • Focus on learning and building capability.
  • Foster culture and behavioural change.

In addition, the team will strengthen its scope to:

  • Align the leadership development and service delivery agendas and build stronger links with the IST.
  • Align more closely with the HR and Workforce agenda, i.e. while leadership is a cross-cutting theme in A Force for Improvement, there are further links to be made between leadership development, staff governance and workforce monitoring.
  • Forge stronger links with Academics - for research, external benchmarking, and evaluation of impact.
  • Link more closely with NHS colleagues in other countries and with colleagues in other sectors around leadership development.
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