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A unique approach to systems leadership

Essex Partners' “Leading Greater Essex” is a unique endeavour for Essex, Southend & Thurrock, with senior leaders coming together from across all public services to participate in an in-depth leadership development programme.

The programme is aimed at developing Essex's leaders into system leaders to give them the skills to operate confidently and effectively across organisational boundaries.

Why are we doing this?

Because the ambitions we have for our county – for people and place – won’t work if we continue to allow ourselves to be limited by our organisational boundaries.

The challenges we face are complex. We need to help communities unleash their potential to flourish; we need to protect our most vulnerable people from potential and actual harm; we need to help boost the local economy and the skills of our workforce; and we need to respond to the challenge of a growing and ageing population that is driving up demand for our health, social care and other public services. And we need to do this with less money, consideration of our climate, Covid safety and preparation for the UK leaving Europe.

We think the style of leadership these challenges require has a number of features; it's ambitious, enabling, based on learning and it's collaborative. Our people need to see issues not in police, health or council silos, but instead as common challenges that we need to work on together.

We are already demonstrating in Essex that this style of leadership can bring results. For example, Essex had a problem of historically high levels of domestic abuse. Rather than accept this as a given, we put in place a partnership programme combining early intervention, better support for victims, tough enforcement, education and data and intelligence sharing which is now turning the tide on abusive relationships.

What’s the goal?

The big prize is better life chances through a more coherent approach to policy and practice. We hope to better achieve this by developing the county’s top public service representatives to create system leaders rather than organisational leaders. And for LGE alumni, their prize is being part of the movement, with chance to shape how that happens.

Since 2016 more than 200 leaders have successfully completed Leading Greater Essex and are now applying their learning within their place of work, operating as effective system leaders. Having completed one academic year programme of activities, LGE participants each achieved positive changes in knowledge, confidence, skills, awareness and are an investment that will continue to develop impact as individuals move into more senior roles within leadership in Greater Essex. 

Be a part of the next Leading Greater Essex cohort in 2022