UK Leadership scenarios

Part of a suite of papers from The Colebrooke Centre and Cass Business School’s research on systems leadership for the Staff College, formally known as the Virtual Staff College (VSC). This paper is intended to be read alongside other papers, particularly the Synthesis Paper.

In this paper, we describe three case studies of systems leadership – ‘leadership scenarios’ – which involved initiatives in multi-agency settings characterised by whole systems working. The scenarios were selected in collaboration with the project’s Research Advisory Group and Co-Production Group to illustrate systems leadership in different settings and contexts. They involved documentary review and three to five qualitative interviews by telephone with the key people involved particularly in the earlier stages of each initiative. These interviews were conducted very specifically through a lens focused on systems leadership, rather than the more typical focus of organisational or ‘good practice’ case studies. The researchers then used the interviews to explore the relevance of aspects of systems leadership that had emerged from the literature review and interviews with systems leaders and to drill down into how systems leadership thinking and behaviours actually played out on the ground. The scenarios thus illuminate systems leadership – the potential, power and challenges it involves, and its relationship with context.

The three scenarios are:

  • Barnet’s Troubled Families work
  • The North West London Integrated Care Pilot
  • Bradford’s Total Place project