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Sustainability and Transformation Plans (STPs)

Sustainability and Transformation Plan Footprints

The Leadership for Change programme is for anyone responsible for implementing part or all of a Sustainability and Transformation Plan (STP), focusing on what’s actually happening in services and on needing to show progress towards real change taking place on the ground.

Sustainability and Transformation Plan footprints represent a new way of working for the health and care system. The Leadership for Change programme provides a great opportunity for leaders working in these footprints to work and learn together on shared purposes to achieve system change.

The building blocks upon which the programme has been constructed are the six dimensions of systems leadership as identified by the international research published by the Staff College.

How Systems Leadership can help you?

Systems Leadership is about how you lead across boundaries – departmental, organisational or across sectors.  It is particularly relevant for people involved in the transformation of complex health and care services, or looking to improve population health and wellbeing.

It can help people to do real work and effect real change, through changing mind-sets and behaviours, thereby ultimately leading to culture change and different outcomes. And embedding Systems Leadership at different levels helps build system resilience, so that new ways of working can withstand external pressures.

Systems Leadership takes complexity and inherent difficulty as a given. It’s about how you lead across boundaries and when no one person is in charge: when you have to influence rather than pulling a management lever.

It recognises that leadership isn’t vested in people simply because of their title or position; that it is possible – indeed, necessary – for leadership to be shared and ceded – and that you can come together on the basis of a shared ambition, and accept partial or clumsy solutions on the way to getting there. And citizens, patients and service users are always the centre of the work. 

Because of its cross-sector nature, Systems Leadership is particularly relevant for people involved in large-scale or fundamental change, like much of the work involved in implementing STPs. It’s a practical, grounded approach to joined-up working and long-term behaviour/culture change.  And as such, it’s a really useful tool to have in your armoury.

If you have any questions about how the Leadership for Change progranmme can support the planned work in your area, please e-mail

Leadership Centre NHS Leadership Academy Public Health England The Staff College