Published: 05/05/2005, Volume II5, No. 5954 Page 30

One SHA has used its management development initiative resources to launch a complete development package. Alexis Nolan reports

Surrey and Sussex strategic health authority last month launched its response to the national management development initiative. The initiative, set up last year, gives each SHA the freedom and resources to address its own local management development needs.

For Surrey and Sussex SHA the challenge has been not just to identify what works in management and leadership development, but also the need to address issues around improving services and financial performance.

The solution is its Leadership for Service Improvement 'development service'. The package is open to level 3 and 4 managers across the SHA.

The SHA says LSI is specifically not a development programme. Instead, it is a resource that will support participating individuals with the delivery of a specific service improvement project. It links development to tangible action and, hopefully, results. Each service improvement project and each nominated service improvement lead has the written backing of their chief executive.

There are 90 service improvement leads across the SHA and each of their performance coaches from NHS organisations in the area are among those taking part in LSI.

The development resource consists of:

An online self-assessment tool that allows participants to reflect on their current practice. It also helps managers identify what skills they need to improve to deliver the project.

A development centre, provided by consultants Practive, to test leadership and service improvement capabilities.

A performance coach, selected and nominated by the service improvement lead, to offer formal inputs and skills development, action learning sets and telephone support.

Facilitated action learning sets, where service improvement leads peer review to look at progress, challenge practice and support individuals with the delivery of the service improvement project.

Master classes, to help managers learn from where those who have led service improvement elsewhere both inside and outside the NHS.

The impact of LSI on services will be assessed independently throughout the life of the projects. The evaluation will be published as a guide and the lessons learnt will be incorporated in management and leadership development practices.