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Steve McManus - Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust

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Steve Mc Manus CEO Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust

Steve, the government launched the apprenticeship levy in April 2017, and Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust (RBFT) was one of the first NHS Trusts to come on board with this. How do you see the levy being of benefit to the organisation - both in the short and long term?

The way we have embraced the opportunity presented by the levy is a reflection of our need to work in a new way, in order to deliver real benefits to our patients and community.

‘We’ve already seen significant changes in the thinking and behaviour amongst those in the first group of 40 delegates, and we’re seeing the positive benefits from the different ways in which those staff are connecting with each other across the Trust.

‘This programme is very different from other leadership development programmes; its multi-disciplinary approach, and the way it has been designed to address our specific issues makes it important in the development of our core values and behaviours.

‘As well as further embedding our already outstanding CQC rating, I’m certain that this process will have a big impact on our ability to recruit and retain talented staff.’

What were the determining factors for choosing Henley as the levy provider for management and leadership programmes?

Their geographical proximity was a factor, as was the connection with the University of Reading, with which we have a strategic partnership. But we were especially impressed with the quality of the Henley product, especially in regard to leadership development

‘But even more than that, the thing that set Henley apart from other potential providers was their flexibility and their willingness to enter into a creative partnership with us regarding the core content of the programme.’

What additional benefits do you see long term in running a programme such as this?

Our long term strategy is to support our people and enable them to be the best they can be, and this programme fit very neatly into the suite of leadership development programmes we’ve set out. Ultimately, we want leaders who are confident in their ability to deal with complex situations and environments. Creating a culture in which education and development is integral helps us to attract and maintain the right calibre of people across all our teams.

Fundamentally, this is about delivery of outstanding care to our patients and the community we serve.

How can developing learning communities within the Trust help to fulfil long term strategic aims?

For us, this is about generating a critical mass of supported colleagues who will ultimately exert a really positive impact and influence on the culture of the Trust.

We anticipate that the new leadership style will, in turn, make significant improvements in the levels of diversity and inclusion throughout the organisation, and encourage multi-disciplinary working between departments.

We also expect that it will help to raise our profile within the local and regional communities.

How might you use the personalised elements of the Henley programme to create the best impact within the Trust?

Given that the apprenticeship levy is nationally mandated, it was important for us to draw the maximum benefit from it, and indeed we have invested more into the programme than the statutory requirements.

By taking a creative approach, and working with Henley to develop this customised programme, we will, I’m sure, optimise our return on that investment.

What would be your advice to other CEOs and directors who are thinking about using their levy to invest in leadership development for their staff?

Don’t be afraid to push the boundaries, to ensure that the programmes are bespoke, and right for you. Find a partner with the kind of resources that Henley has, nationally and internationally, commercially and in the public sector; that capability and breadth of knowledge is invaluable.

We’re very fortunate to have a highly creative and responsive team at Henley, and that has made a significant contribution to raised expectations all round."