Learning from Systems Leadership: What role for OD and HR leaders?

How is systems leadership enabling innovation and transformational change across public services, localities and communities? How can systems leadership be best developed and what does this mean for the role of OD and HR leaders?


The public sector faces major challenges that need strong collective leadership operating across local systems, rather than within single organisations. We’ve seen several good examples of this over the last decade, particularly through a number of ‘whole systems’ experiments and pilots – from Local Strategic Partnerships (LSPs), to Total Place, to the more recent Local Vision Systems Leadership pilots sponsored by a powerful coalition of health and local government leadership bodies.

As we learn from these experiments, new leadership theory and practice is emerging around ‘Systems Leadership’ development to support public service organisations working in complex and multi-agency settings. Organisation development (OD) and HR professionals are naturally well placed to support this and need to be at the centre of this wider conversation and emerging practice – from supporting leadership at community level through to equipping senior leaders to effect whole systems change.

With this in mind and as we approach an election, it is important to take stock and apply the emerging learning in systems leadership to equip our organisations, localities and communities for an even more challenging future.

At this special joint summit, PPMA and OPM will bring together learning from the most recent experiments to do just that and to give the chance for you to connect with other senior OD and HR professionals. We’ll be exploring what this learning might mean for your role and how you might be at the forefront of this challenging but exciting shift in leadership development and practice.

Spaces are limited, so don’t miss out.

What we’ll cover

  • Lessons in supporting systems change and systems leadership – including emerging systems leadership research.
  • Practical learning about the skills and qualities needed for systems leadership – and how they are best developed, drawing on evidence from experiential national leadership programmes and ‘learning-in-action’ within and across organisations and localities.
  • An exploration of the role of HR and OD professionals in supporting senior leaders to acquire these skills and the cultural and workforce implications this raises, alongside the evidence from experiential national leadership programmes about how to develop ‘learning-in-action’ within and across organisations and localities.
  • An opportunity to explore what this means for the OD and HR community in going forward.


  • Debbie Sorkin, National Director for Systems Leadership, Leadership Centre
  • Sue Goss, Principal, OPM and system enabler for current Local Vision experiments
  • Liz Goold, Senior OD Fellow, OPM and facilitator on a number of national systems leadership development programmes
  • Kerry Furness, OD lead, PPMA and OD Manager, Norfolk County Council

More info

This is a free event and the limited spaces will be offered on a first come, first served basis. If you’re interested in attending, please email Rosie Keefe at

Refreshments and lunch will be provided and if you have any special access or dietary requirements, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate them.
If you have any questions, please get get in touch with Rosie Keefe at or on 020 7239 7816.

For more information about PPMA go to

For more information about OPM go to