Digital Leadership: programme overview and how to apply

All applications must be received by 12.00pm on Wednesday 20 October.


Programme overview

Previous LGA work in the digital area has underlined how important the quality of leadership is to success, and also some of the particular challenges facing people working in the adult social care digital field. In particular:

  • New roles: whilst expertise is growing all the time, people working in care technology and other aspects of adult social care digital come from a range of backgrounds and disciplines. They are often pioneering new approaches and driving change in their councils; this work can be both exhilarating and exhausting
  • Isolation: often individual leads in councils do not have obvious peers in their own organisations; connecting people with peers facing similar challenges across organisations is an important aspect of leadership development
  • Resilience: the shift to a truly digitally-enabled social care model is a work of several years; arguably no one has yet achieved the full potential of digital. Alongside successes there will be setbacks and much learning; innovation at this scale requires risk taking and sometimes failure. Care technology pioneers in councils often report the enhanced hurdles and scrutiny they feel they have to clear in order to get sign-off for programmes in their organisation. This is hard at a personal level and building personal resilience is a key requirement for effective leaders in this space
  • Sources of support and information: it can be difficult for people in this field to blend their knowledge and experience of social care with the increasingly complex and crowded digital market. Knowing where to go for information, unbiased advice and maintaining market and product knowledge are all additional challenges

Our collective experience of working directly with councils has revealed that councils who make the most progress have effective senior leaders championing and engaging with the work, alongside effective digital programme leads / commissioners. We are therefore offering a digital leadership programme that works both with senior leaders as well as those delivering the work at the front line.

We are therefore seeking to recruit pairs of participants from five councils across the country who can commit to working together and with peers to really explore how their combined, applied leadership can help accelerate progress. All councils will need to commit both a programme lead and a senior sponsor for a five month period between November 2021 and March 2022.

Structure of programme

The programme will create communities of practice amongst the senior sponsors and the programme leads, and there will also be activities targeted at both participants from each council - bringing you together to undertake development tasks to progress your digital ambitions at a local level. We will encourage each pair of council participants to bring a specific project or aim to the leadership programme with the intention of supporting delivery and developing their leadership skills over the period of the programme alongside – an applied approach to leadership development.

The leadership programme will include:

  • Two to one coaching sessions for each council: one kick-off session and two further sessions - months one / three / five
  • Communities of practice: three sessions with peers from other councils – months two / four / six (note that the final session may slip into April)
  • Ongoing programme of content – fortnightly provocations responding to the needs of the group: content to include things to read, watch, activities, relevant to the themes of leadership, innovation, social care, and digital transformation. The group will be asked to contribute to this element as the programme progresses
  • Other content/tools targeted around themes like resilience building – these would emerge from needs identified from the coaching and communities of practice

Once we’ve recruited to this programme, we will identify additional interventions based on council needs. An open, learning mindset for participants will be essential. We will build in sustainability from the start, encouraging the group to network and share expertise outside the formal programme elements so that relationships are developed which will be the foundation for the groups becoming self-supporting longer term.

Why councils should participate?

This is a pretty unique opportunity to combine leadership development activities with subject specific expertise – both through working with Rethink Partners and with peers – in an applied environment. This offer may not suit all organisations or individuals, but it is probably a good fit for you and your organisations if:

  • There is some momentum locally to be more ambitious about the role care technology can play in adult social care, but leadership is needed to drive this forward
  • You feel you would benefit from some stimulation, challenge and support – from peers and professionals – to shake things up a bit. Traditional approaches don’t seem to be quite cutting it
  • There is a willing partnership between a senior leader and someone driving the work; this partnership could have greater impact with the time, space and stimulation to focus
  • You / your council can commit to full participation in all elements
  • You are willing to share what you have learned with others
  • You have the support of your senior adult social care leadership team

Commitment of participating councils

  • Participation in monthly coaching / community of practice sessions – these are all mandatory
  • Engagement with other materials / content / learning opportunities outside these sessions
  • Willingness to network with other councils outside formal sessions
  • Willingness to provide insight, learning and content to other participants
  • Commitment to producing content to capture learning along the way (supported by Rethink Partners): 1 x blog / vlog per council
  • Willingness to share learning and experience as part of evaluation activities / celebration event (TBC).

How to apply

All applications must be received by midday on Wednesday 20 October. Successful councils will be notified by Monday 25 October at the latest.

Apply now

Applications close at 12.00pm on Wednesday 20 October.

Video and voice responses are also accepted. Please keep responses brief – no more than three minutes if voice or video - which should be sent to liz@rethinkpartners.co.uk . To arrange an informal discussion to explore if the programme is for you, please contact liz@rethinkpartners.co.uk