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Developing Senior Systems Leadership

A pioneering programme for aspiring senior leaders in Social Care, Social Work & Health in Scotland.

“If you feel drawn to this programme – follow your curiosity – we need more leaders to come through with these different types of capabilities, who can handle this type of leadership in complexity.”

– Developing Senior Systems Leadership Faculty Member
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Applications for Cohort 2 are now closed.

Welcome to Developing Senior Systems Leadership

Welcome to the information hub for Developing Senior Systems Leadership, a specialist development programme for leaders aspiring to executive and equivalent senior roles within Social Care, Social Work, and Health in Scotland. We warmly welcome interest from aspiring senior leaders who are keen to be part of a vibrant and inclusive community that will learn and work together to develop the qualities of leadership that bring the vision for Social Care, Social Work and Health to life.

Designed and delivered with national and international experts in leadership and organisational development, the programme aims to support you to move beyond your current level of leadership, preparing you for the challenges and realities of executive level or equivalent roles that involve working across boundaries and engaging whole systems in change.

Over 10 months this contemporary development programme will offer you innovative and engaging learning experiences that will equip you with insights into Board level leadership in a complex and changing system. It will help you to explore your own sense of leadership purpose, confidence, impact and support you to develop the critical skills and capabilities that are essential to success at the most senior levels.

At the same time as working on your own leadership, you will also be learning with others through live collaborative work on the real challenges of effecting change across the health, social work and social care environment.

What is Developing Senior Systems Leadership?

Developing Senior Systems Leadership is a contemporary programme which is part of an ambitious national plan, Leading to Change to build high levels of systems leadership capability across Social Care, Social Work, and Health.

The resounding message from all corners of the Social Care, Social Work and Health system is that leadership capability is fundamental to the delivery of an effective, integrated and outcome focussed system which has patients and people who use services at its heart.

Who is it for?

Developing Senior Systems Leadership is for you if you are already a senior leader who is committed to delivering excellent systems leadership in Social Care, Social Work or Health. And you aspire to an executive director or equivalent role whether that be within an integrated care organisation or partnership, commissioning or delivery organisation.

You will also be interested in working in the spaces in between organisations in Social Care, Social Work and Health to improve collaboration and outcomes for people who use services.

The key thing is the difference you want to make rather than the specific organisation you want to work in.

We are keen to create a fully inclusive learning community whose members reflect the diversity of the population as a whole and the workforce of the Social Care, Social Work and Health communities. We strongly welcome interest from applicants who will help us to achieve this goal. We have been delighted to welcome participants from Social Work and Social Care including the statutory, third and independent sectors to cohort one and would hope to continue to see increasing numbers of applicants from these sectors.

This is for you if you are:

  • Currently operating at a senior level within a Social Care, Social Work or Health setting.
  • Aspiring to move into a senior system, executive or director level role in the Social Care, Social Work or Health environment in the next 18-24 months.
  • Motivated to lead at this level and across the Social Care, Social Work and Health system.
  • Aligned with the programme philosophy and approach. Interested in being part of a purposeful and inclusive whole Social Care, Social Work and Health learning environment for senior leaders.
  • Keen to deepen your capacity to work in complex, adaptive systems and prepared to challenge and be challenged; open to seeing systems differently and refining your personal leadership purpose and practice.
  • Motivated by the opportunity to apply your new systems leadership capabilities directly to your organisations and to the wider system.
  • Sponsored to apply for a place by a Director, Chief Officer, Chief Executive, or equivalent level senior leader.

In addition:

  • You will already be working with ambiguity & complexity and will be keen to deepen your capacity to do this.
  • You will display genuine interest in others, curiosity and respect for difference and hold high standards for behaviours between colleagues in both your own teams and within wider networks.
  • You will be passionate about developing a shared leadership culture across Social Care, Social Work and Health that models compassionate and collaborative leadership that puts people at the centre of all that we do.

Please do familiarise yourself with both the general selection criteria and the sector specific selection criteria most relevant to you.

If you’re not yet at the leadership career stage for DSSL, perhaps The Leading for the Future programme could be for you. To find out more about this programme and to apply, click here.

The Role of Sponsor – the key to success

There is no doubt that sponsors bring enormous benefits to a programme like this and often make a significant difference to the outcomes of the programme both for individual participants and for the learning community.  The value of working with an established and experienced executive/senior systems leader as a sounding board, mentor, and critical friend cannot be overestimated.

Current senior systems leaders in every corner of the social care, social work, and health system in Scotland recognise their contribution, indeed ‘obligation’  to offer their personal commitment to helping the next generation of senior systems leaders step into their leadership roles with more insight, knowledge, and preparedness.

Successful applications require a clear commitment from the Sponsor to the applicant’s learning both on and outwith the programme itself.  Sponsor nomination and commitment are influential in selection decision making.

Next Steps

If you are interested in finding out more about Developing Senior Systems Leadership and the application process, either as a potential participant, potential sponsor or as someone generally interested in the programme, choose from the icons below to find the information you need.

Not sure about something – have a look at our FAQs and if you still have a question then please do contact us.

Applications for cohort 2 are now closed.

Useful Info

Here’s some further info that you may find useful.

You might be interested in…

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The most frequently asked questions about Developing Senior Systems Leadership.

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Register interest

Sign up for the Developing Senior Systems Leadership 12-month programme.

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The Role of a Sponsor

Everything you need to know about the role and value of a sponsor.

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