Locally accountable arrangements encompassing community, political, clinical and professional leadership which transcend organisational boundaries, are collaborative, and are where decisions are taken at the most appropriate local level.


In practice, systems leadership, or place-based leadership, is the coming together of organisations to collectively solve problems which no single body can do on its own. Systems leaders exhibit personal characteristics which enable them to work across boundaries with greater degrees of uncertainty. The NHS Leadership Academy has defined these.

Frequently asked questions

What approaches support cross-sector understanding?

  • Working together on a collective problem supports greater understanding, helping to build a common language and set of objectives, and overcome cultural and organisational barriers
  • Place-based strategies such as health and wellbeing plans, integration programmes or joint needs assessments provide a basis for a shared place-based view of a local population's needs to underpin systems leadership and shared goals
  • Effective partnership governance arrangements can greatly facilitate system leadership locally 

Case studies and examples

LGA support and resources

  • The Health and Wellbeing Systems Improvement offer provides training, mentoring, bespoke support and resources for health and wellbeing boards and their leaders
  • The Highlighting Leadership programme provides support for councillors, officers and specifically for leading transformation
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    brings together learning, from research and from practice in places around the country, at both organisational and systems level.

Selected tools and resources from our partners