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Designing the future of leadership for the Cheshire and Merseyside ICS

On Tuesday, 1 March, the Innovation Agency’s Coaching Academy had the honour of welcoming a group of more than 30 diverse health and care professionals from across Cheshire and Merseyside to begin a collaborative journey to create a “clinical and care leadership framework”.

It’s intended to help clinical and care colleagues from across the health and care system work together as leaders. When ICSs stand up statutorily in July, frameworks like this will become live. Other frameworks touch on governance, community engagement, finance and commissioning, digital and data standards, and more.

Users of health and care services may assume that system-wide collaboration already exists – that local authority, social and domiciliary care providers, primary care networks, NHS organisations and trusts, and other critical stakeholder collaboratives are connected and communicating regularly – but this is not consistently true. As one of Monday’s attendees noted, a “wide gulf” of shared understanding of roles and ways of working still exists. 

While I've never met a clinical and care professional in the NHS who doesn't agree that integrated care is the right approach for building and activating collective power to tackle health inequalities challenges, the system itself has never been set up to channel ideas, learn, feedback, and create tactical strategies across groups. However, the Covid pandemic has shown us that we can indeed innovate rapidly when we have greater flexibility to communicate, share resources, make decisions, and initiate action together.

The workshop on 1 March is one of three workshops to ‘design’ the clinical and care leadership framework for the Cheshire and Merseyside Integrated Care System (ICS). We are working through the five stages of the design thinking process: empathise, define, ideate, prototype and test. We are squarely in the empathise stage right now, which means we are eagerly seeking stakeholder input to help us fully understand the needs of clinical and care professionals across the region.

To make sure as many people as possible to contribute, we have created an online collaboration space called Idea Drop, where we will ask questions or issue ‘challenges’ about aspects of the framework. You can share your ideas, and comment and build on the ideas of others. Ideas will be moved through a ‘pipeline’ as the framework is built. Join the conversation!

For more information about the leadership framework and its progress, visit the Cheshire and Merseyside HCP website. If you have any questions, please contact


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