Place-based System Leadership: Police & Local Government Work in Scotland

Working collectively across organisational & local boundaries to progress systemic issues

Many of us work on complex, societal issues. We know that not one single organisation or individual can resolve these alone. They need a collective approach. This is the focus and aim of the Collective Leadership for Scotland team. With a small core team based in Scottish Government, but a vast network of colleagues from across public services and Third Sector, we help develop the skills and capacity for collaboration and collective leadership in public services that are needed to tackle these systemic challenges. 

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Over the past year, The Collective Leadership for Scotland team has been working with colleagues in Police Scotland and The Improvement Service to design and deliver a Pilot Collective Leadership Programme in three localities, which included participants from Police Scotland, Local Councils, NHS, Fire and Rescue Service, Health and Social Care Partnerships and the Voluntary sector based in the locality. The intention of the pilots was to offer a place-based, focussed learning experience on the theory and practice of Collective Leadership, including supported exploration of complex and wicked issues in the locality by participants.
With the pilots having concluded in February 2022, we are now delighted to see the impact the programmes have had on participants. Two recent evaluation reports on this work show the participants’ wish for change and the ways that collective leadership can offer them a different route to make a difference for the people and communities they are working in. Despite participants being from different organisations and from three different Scottish localities, they have been able to identify and acknowledge their connections and the mutual challenge to work across the system. It is the collective realisation of these mutual difficulties that can become the “collective and galvanising desire to do something about it”. 

If you would like to learn more about these pilots, please join our upcoming workshop session on 20 June, in which participants from Police Scotland, The Improvement Service and others share their learning from the programme and how this could inform future developments. This session may be of interest to those who are involved in place-based systems leadership work, those who are keen to develop collective leadership practice for multi-partner work around complex issues and those who are interested in how we evaluate impact for this kind of work.
You can also read through the official report by the Scottish Institute for Policing Research (SIPR) and the evaluation report ‘How do we know we are doing good work’‘ by Dr Cathy Sharp from Research for Real and the Collective Leadership for Scotland team.

The Collective Leadership for Scotland team is also involved in other collective, place-based and system leadership work across Scotland and offers learning and development opportunities for colleagues. This includes our well-established Facilitation and Leadership Programme. Due to high demand, there are two more summer cohorts available in 2022. Please see the information below for more information on getting involved with this work or the team itself.

Getting involved

Get in Touch & Stay Connected

  • If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team (collectiveleadership@gov.scot)
  • To stay up-to-date with upcoming learning opportunities and events, subscribe to our newsletter here
  • Share your experiences and stay in touch on Twitter (@CollectiveScot)

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