SOCIAL SERVICES LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK

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1 SOCIAL SERVICES LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT FRAMEWORK A discussion paper from the Changing Lives Leadership and Management Group. Introduction Work in Social Services, whether at a policy, practice, leadership or management level is all about the delivery of high quality services to people in need. Changing Lives, as a policy statement, focuses attention on this fundamental principle and calls for individuals, teams and organisations to review and renew themselves on a continuous basis so that they are able to change the way they work and the systems, policies and procedures they use in order to provide the best services they possibly can; services that will meet the changing needs and priorities of service users and their carers now and in the future. Why does leadership and management matter? All our research, analysis and experience, teaches us that leadership and management are the pillars on which organisations, teams and individuals, their policies, practices, systems and procedures rest. The direction, co-ordination, standards and delivery of services do not happen by accident, they require the concerted effort of leaders and managers at every level of the system. Services do not change and develop by osmosis or by chance, they are changed by the will, skill and effort of staff working with their leaders and managers to attain new and improved standards of delivery. Inspection reports and the results of formal enquiries into the different tragedies that have happened when services have failed to deliver have all come to the same conclusion: Poor leadership, poor decision making, poor management, including line management and professional supervision, inadequate communications and information sharing, have all resulted in poor standards of practice and failures to act appropriately in the interests of the child, vulnerable adult or other service user. SWIA inspection reports, like Audit Scotland reports, provide similar data, identifying clearly that poor standards of professional practice and failures in service delivery are directly linked to poor standards of leadership and management. Leadership that lacks clarity of purpose and expectation disables managers, and management that does not develop clear processes and systems for empowering staff to make decision and implement decisions leads to top heavy bureaucracy and a lack of focused action and attention on the issues that really matter. 1

2 Grasping this opportunity how using the framework will help. Changing Lives provides a golden opportunity for leaders and managers at all levels to review their current practice and be ambitious in their aspirations to achieve new standards of excellence. The Leadership and Management Framework currently being developed is a powerful resource not a document - to support these changes. It is: a resource of practical tools and ideas; a means of stimulating new ways of reflecting and new ways of taking action which are complementary, or additional, to existing local leadership development activity and inspection and audit processes. The parameters guiding its development are that it must be: concerned with both the individuals who fulfil the roles of leaders and managers, and with the systems they lead and manage, as it those systems that turn intention into action. meaningful, accessible, relevant and inspirational so that all levels of staff can engage with it; dynamic, and will stand the test of time; and fully and appropriately linked with other Changing Lives activities, particularly other frameworks e.g. the Continuous Learning Framework, inspection and audit activities e.g. SWIA s Performance Improvement Model and associated self-assessment guides, and with the wider national leadership policy development and programme activity across the public sector, so that key pieces of work explicitly link and reinforce each other. Its focus is on enabling individuals and organisations to achieve excellence in their end results, identifying and delivering the service outcomes that were the motivation for individuals taking up careers in social services in the first place. The Model that underpins the Framework The model that underpins this Framework is evidence based, and been through a number of iterations to test its basic assumptions and robustness. As like the rest of the Framework, it has been designed so that it complements and can be used alongside other frameworks and models e.g. SWIA s Performance Improvement Model, the Continuous Learning Framework, EFQM etc. It is deceptively simple at one level, and yet as with all the best simple things, it hides a wealth of complexity and challenge, thereby enabling individuals and organisations to engage with it at different levels according to their need. The essential design of the model is as follows: 2

3 PROPOSED LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT MODEL What outcomes are we trying to Do we have the achieve for the leadership capability benefit of people who use these PURPOSE PEOPLE and capacity to achieve these goals? services? What are we learning from this journey? Have we achieved our goals / service outcomes? PERFORMANCE PROCESS Do our processes add value and help us achieve our purpose? Each of the four boxes contains issues for individuals and organisations. Purpose PURPOSE Individual Organisational Clarity of expectation for individuals and organisations were identified by inspection reports as fundamental to the delivery of effective services. Asking the question What outcomes are we trying to achieve here, for the benefit of people who use these services? not just once, but on a continuous basis can lead to some challenging responses, and with the inevitable conflicts of resource constraints set against perceived needs, it is a question that needs to be addressed at all levels of the organisation. Leadership in relation to Purpose is about understanding the context; determining mission ( what we are about ), vision ( where we want to be ), goals ( clear, measurable aims to deliver mission and vision ) and strategy ( how we get there ); and establishing a culture that enables people to thrive. 3

4 It is also about understanding and aligning individuals values and ambitions in support of the broader mission and vision. Individual leaders need to ask the tough questions and dialogue with others, both within and outwith social services in order to challenge and refine their understanding of Purpose. This is not about providing answers, but having the courage to challenge sacred cows in order to achieve a common and understood definition of core purpose. People In order to deliver purpose, we need people with the leadership capacity and capability to start and sustain major change. Leaders need to be developed and encouraged at every level, irrespective of how much formal authority they may have. The challenge is not only to develop even more effective leaders and managers, but also to develop a culture which enables them to flourish and practice effectively at every level. PEOPLE Values (Why we lead) Qualities (How we lead) Practice (What we do) The model sets out the dimensions of leadership - the aspired values, qualities and practices of effective social service leaders. This gives a common understanding and language across all social work services - statutory and voluntary - to inform recruitment, development and performance review. The dimensions offer some challenges to how social service leaders currently do business. Each leader will need to understand and live these values, qualities and practices in ways that have meaning for them; similarly, organisations and teams will need to consider how these dimensions of leadership can re-define the culture of the organisation and how they can be applied to local systems and processes. Process Process enables purpose to be turned into performance. It is all the parts of the organisation - systems, processes and practices - that turn intention into action. Processes can also disable delivery. Leadership therefore needs to ensure that these managerial systems, procedures, practices and structures add value and support delivery of service outcomes. There are difficult balances to achieve. Providing care to vulnerable people can push services in the direction of risk-aversion and excessive bureaucracy and controls. Whether it is about decision-making, risk management, communication, planning, budget management or the like, PROCESS processes need to be designed to ensure they add value by motivating and engaging staff who deliver the services. Evidence from the Best Value and SWIA audits show there is work to be done here. There is good work to build on, and many examples of excellence which can be shared and developed for the benefit of all. Work climate Systems Structure Procedures Practices 4

5 Performance Leadership and management are ultimately about delivering service outcomes, and achieving sustainable change is part of this ambition. This comes with accountability - accountability for success and for learning and improving when things go wrong. PERFORMANCE Sustainable change Public confidence Public accountability Service outcomes Measurement is difficult, and we know that it is an area we all need to work at - but we also know that not everything can be measured. Reflective practice - a skill learnt by social workers - is critical in leadership and management too, and needs to be revitalised as a way of working across social services. Learning from performance - what has helped and what has hindered - will inform our questions about the purpose of the service and so the cycle continues. Potential Applications For individual leaders Aide memoir: The surface simplicity of the model is its strength - it provides a readily memorable aide memoir for leaders / managers to use as a mental checklist to guide them through the range of leadership and management dilemmas they face. Self-Assessment: A self-assessment tool will be available to help individual leaders and managers consider their effectiveness. This can then inform personal development planning and encourage leaders to initiate self-development. For teams / organisations Leadership and management culture: The model offers a different way of doing business, encouraging all members of a team to ask questions about Purpose, people, process and performance. A self-assessment tool for teams and organisations will help exploration, understanding and action. Investment in Leadership Development: By focusing on more than just individual leaders / managers and considering leadership / management, the model challenges organisations to consider how to invest effectively in leader-ship development. Supporting teams and individuals as they handle complex service challenges, developing reflective practice in leadership and become clearer on the impact of investment in development in relation to service outcomes are all possible applications. Competence frameworks: A number of frameworks currently exist which are closely aligned to their local contexts. This model provides a common basis for local organisations to test/develop their own approaches. 5

6 Design of selection, performance review and development interventions: The revised competence frameworks can, in turn, inform the design of selection processes (person specifications / assessment criteria), performance review (of behaviours), personal development planning, and the design of development interventions. A common language throughout will reduce current barriers across organisations and sectors. 6

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