Publication - Publication

Executive-level leadership and talent management in NHSScotland: overview paper

Published: 11 May 2017

A set of actions to address the Health and Social Care Delivery Plan's priority of developing the NHSScotland workforce.

18 page PDF

158.1 kB

18 page PDF

158.1 kB

Executive-level leadership and talent management in NHSScotland: overview paper
Annex A - Key Actions And Timescales

18 page PDF

158.1 kB

Annex A - Key Actions And Timescales

i. Values Based Recruitment

NHS organisations in Scotland, as employers, currently lead the recruitment process for executive-level positions and use different methodologies often with the support of external recruitment agencies. Experience within the NHS in Scotland demonstrates the benefits of using a values-based recruitment approach within a single methodology.

In future, for the most senior posts in NHSScotland there will be greater national co-ordination and support to ensure consistency of approach and a rigorous standard which ensures not only the necessary skills, knowledge and experience but also ensuring those appointed are exemplars of NHSScotland values.

This will include a single national methodology. There will be a review of how and when executive search agencies are used - and if considered necessary it will be within the single methodology referred to above.


Establish a national level function to direct recruitment arrangements for all executive level posts and development programmes.

1. Golden Jubilee Foundation to lead design and delivery of new national level approach.

2. Scottish Government to lead review of how and when executive search agencies are used.


• New national level approach to be operational by Autumn 2017.

• Review of executive search agencies to be completed by Autumn 2017.

ii. Performance Management & Appraisal At Executive Level

There will be a single national approach for objective setting and performance appraisal for the NHSScotland executive cohort. The approach will ensure standardised, consistently applied processes to enable a formal and honest assessment of how well people have performed, their wider contribution within their own organisations and to NHSScotland corporately, and in the development and wellbeing of staff in the context of equality and diversity. This is also intended to ensure that individual aspirations and potential for the future can be assessed and progressed within the new national arrangements which place a particular premium on leadership qualities, values and behaviours as well as delivery.

The outcome will be a common format for providing information to the National Leadership and Talent Management Group for calibration, moderation and assurance purposes. This will support the new national arrangements for talent management and succession planning including a single record and dataset for each individual for submission to the National Leadership and Talent Management Group.

2017/18 will be a transitional year and will be used as the basis for moving to standardised national documentation for executive level performance management and appraisal. NHS Boards should continue to work within the existing guidance PCS(ESM)2017/1 and using local systems but with the expectation of migrating to the new approach for the 2018/19 appraisal year.


3. Scottish Government to produce a new objective setting form and supporting documentation for the 2017/18 year as a transition to the new arrangements; this will be trialled with a number of Chief Executives over 2017/18 and will come into force for the 2018/19 appraisal year.

4. NHS Education for Scotland and Golden Jubilee Foundation working with the NHS National Services Scotland to develop the necessary documentation, accompanying guidance and processes (including digital and analytics solutions) drawing on best practice.

5. Scottish Government to review existing circulars, directions and good practice guidance and produce a revised version reflecting the overall approach set out in this paper.


• Revised documentation to be finalised and issued in conjunction with refreshed good practice guidance as part of a trial of the new process over the first half of 2017/18; test from August 2017 with a view to coming into effect for the 2018/19 appraisal year.

• Review of circulars, directions and good practice to be completed by the end of August 2017 with a view to coming into effect for the 2018/19 appraisal year.

iii. Leadership Development

There will be a new approach, open to all by way of a values-based recruitment process, to identify and develop those with the potential to reach executive level positions. It will also ensure ongoing development and support for the current executive level cohort. This new approach will reflect the agreed leadership qualities for Health and Social Care and give prominence to the NHSScotland values.

This will allow for inclusive arrangements for around 1% of the NHSScotland workforce (c1600 people) to start to explore their potential and development for the most senior positions over time then honed to an annual national cohort of around 25 people identified through rigorous and fair selection methods with a strong values-based approach. Modelling and scenario planning using the number of executive level appointments made in the last 10 years is currently underway.


6. NHS Education for Scotland to commence scoping, design and delivery of a new nationally-led approach focused on a small national cohort (selected using a fair, open and robust values-based process) in the context of the talent management and succession planning approach, with additional technical support as necessary.


• New arrangements to be operational by early 2018.

iv. Talent Management and Succession Planning

A new nationally-led and co-ordinated approach will be developed to ensure that NHSScotland has a 'talent pipeline', and effective arrangements for identifying future potential, such that there can be confidence in the current and future supply of executive-level leaders spanning functional specialist and generalist posts. This will be designed to ensure much closer and direct involvement of the NHSScotland Chief Executive. This will aim to ensure that it becomes possible to match the aspirations of our people to their potential and ability in ways which ensure, regardless of background, our most talented leaders can excel in the most senior positions.

For 2018/19, the intention is to develop and test a single nine box grid arrangement together with supporting documentation, processes, guidance and analytics to be used across all staff groups for the 'aspiring' director and 'aspiring' chief executive (existing directors) cohorts.

This will ensure that the current and future executive level talent cohort can be identified and managed as early as is practicable at national level, with their development initially managed at local level but with selected individuals then moving to the nationally managed arrangements. It will be necessary to describe how progress will be monitored and managed, what people can expect in terms of the national arrangements and what happens if they need to leave (by choice or being deemed unable to progress).

This will need to be considered within the National Leadership and Talent Management Group's governance arrangements which will ensure congruence across leadership development and performance management and appraisal.


7. Scottish Government, Golden Jubilee Foundation, National Services Scotland and NHS Education for Scotland to scope, design and implement the new arrangements (via digital and analytics solutions where appropriate) working as a sub group to the National Leadership and Talent Management Group.


• Design and develop over 2017/18, with a view to trialling a new approach during 2018/19 appraisal year.

v. Governance, Oversight and Direction

Establish NHSScotland National Leadership and Talent Management Group to provide oversight, direction, connectivity and quality assurance for all the national arrangements. This new group, which will include NHS Board Chief Executive and Chair membership, will subsume the functions of the current National Performance Management Committee.


8. Scottish Government to design and establish the arrangements including building support/development for local Remuneration committees.


• Interim arrangements for 2017/18 to be in place by Spring 2017. New governance arrangements will be in place for 2018/19.

vi. Communications and Engagement

Scottish Government to establish a programme of engagement with key groups to keep them updated on progress and to obtain feedback on each of the workstreams and processes as they develop. This engagement will include a Leadership Event in November to which the executive level cohort will be invited.


9. Scottish Government.


• Communications and engagement with key groups continue, including Scottish Partnership Forum in May 2017; update to the Delivery Programme Board in June 2017 and NHS Board Chief Executives in Summer 2017.

• Further engagement opportunities with key groups, including NHS Board Chairs and Remuneration Committees will be sought.


Email: Gwen Nicholson

Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

The Scottish Government
St Andrew's House
Regent Road