By Suzanne Hamilton, Head of Improvement and Development with CLIC

‘We are the NHS: The People Plan 2020/21’ which was launched in July 2020, has been led by NHS England and NHS Improvement and Health Education England with contributions from people working across the NHS and the wider health and social care sectors. Copies are available to download on the NHS England website: www.england.nhs.uk/publication/we-are-the-nhs-people-plan-for-2020-21-action-for-us-all/  

It follows on from the Interim People Plan (June 2019) and sets out a number of actions to support workforce transformation across the whole NHS, establishing what our people can expect from their leaders and each other in 2020-21 and beyond. 

The People Promise has been developed by people who work in the NHS to guide how we work together to improve the experience of working in the NHS for everyone.


The plan aims to build on the energy, creativity and drive that people demonstrated during Covid and maintain the focus we placed on caring for the wellbeing and safety of our staff to create a culture of inclusion and belonging so that over time the NHS will see more people, working differently, in a compassionate and inclusive culture. 


So what does this mean for leading in the NHS?

Whilst the evidence base for collective leadership has been built over a long period of time (Kings Fund 2014) during Covid we have experienced a rapid change towards much more distributed leadership, where individuals have been respected for their expertise, enabled to take action and clinical voice has been heard more loudly. We need to support and enable all those clinicians and managers who stepped up to meet the extraordinary demands during Covid to be great leaders who can create strong teams and the environment where the people promise can become a reality.

Prerana Issar, the Chief People Officer has spoken about the importance of leadership in our current time and during national emergency and she shares her experience of working with the United Nations: www.kingsfund.org.uk/audio-video/why-leadership-important-covid-prerana-issar 

In implementing the People Plan there is a commitment to more national support for developing clinical leadership, a focus on talent management and access to more digital leadership training and development. Over the next year we will see the launch of a new leadership compact together with national competencies for leaders.

In North Cumbria representatives from across our integrated partnership will be meeting this month to discuss how we can support and develop our local leaders across health and social care and refresh the CLIC training offer.