Breakfast Seminar: Systems Leadership – what is it, do we need it, how do we do it?

Join us for this free seminar where we will discuss how systems leadership could be the key to successful service integration.


As public sector leaders develop radical plans for service integration, ‘systems leadership’ is increasingly at the heart of success. And while it’s hard enough to lead a single organisation well, many of the new experiments involve several organisations pooling resources, people and strategy. At this seminar, we are bringing together leading systems thinkers and practitioners to explore systems leadership challenges.

We will look at the leadership needed to change a whole system, how to do it well and the pitfalls and obstacles to look out for. We will explore:

  • System redesign – how do we create the leadership to redesign a system both vertically and horizontally, for example working with troubled families or the work programme?
  • Changing thinking and practice across several organisations at many levels and in many places at once. What does this mean for leadership, for organisational development and for culture?
  • Health and social care integration – how do we create powerful shared leadership in a fragmented delivery system?
  • Relations with communities – public services working collaboratively to support communities in helping themselves.

Learning is gradually accumulating from Total Place, Community Budgets, and now the LGA/NHS system leadership experiments, and the NHS pioneers – so we are building up both a theory and practice of good systems leadership. At OPM we’ve been working with a number of whole systems and are keen to share the learning and to explore the emerging dilemmas. How do you balance experimentation with project management to get change at pace and scale? How do you control potentially escalating transaction costs? How do you cope with system pressures that drive change off course? How do people stay open and courageous when change involves cutbacks? What support is needed?


  • John Atkinson, leadership advisor to private and public organisations, advising on the requirements of fundamental change. Previously John was a director at KPMG and before that, managing director of the Leadership Centre for Local Government.
  • Deborah Mckenzie, Director of Organisational Development, Public Health England
  • Sue Goss, Principal in Local Services, OPM. Author of Making Local Government Work-Networks, Relationships and the Management of Change

Who should attend?

This workshop is for chief executives, executive directors, senior clinicians and managers, politicians and third sector managers interested in improving their own, and their organisation’s capacity for system leadership.

More info

The seminar will be held at Lumen URC, with breakfast served from 8.30am (for a 9am start). The panel discussion and Q&As will be finished by 10.30am, leaving half an hour for networking. If you have any special access or dietary requirements, please let us know and we will do our best to accommodate them.

For more information please email or call Rosie Keefe on 020 7239 7816.