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Arden & GEM CSU > News & Insights > STPs need advanced project management skills to deliver ambitious change

STPs need advanced project management skills to deliver ambitious change

The emerging world of Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STPs) brings with it some of the most challenging decisions yet for health and social care. In adopting new ways of working across organisational and regional footprints, it’s important to recognise and use those transformation skills already at our disposal as we work together to deliver change at pace and scale, says Chris Davies, NHS Arden & GEM Commissioning Support Unit.

In order to meet the stringent financial balance required, STPs have had to consider much more radical solutions to how they shape health and care systems going forward. In many cases, plans include shifting services from acute providers into alternative settings, reconfiguring the estate footprint and driving integration across health and care (not forgetting input from the independent and voluntary sectors). As these plans mature, more radical decisions regarding funding and implementation are being taken.

This is where project management teams can, and do, play a critical role in changing systems. Project management in today’s NHS is already about a great deal more than Gantt charts, PIDs and Risks and Issues logs. While these processes remain vital, when it comes to successfully implementing change, project managers are required to wear multiple hats. They must understand how all aspects of health and social care systems work, what the clinical needs are, the public consultation requirements and how to align different parts of the system to achieve the desired outcomes.

To deliver our core responsibility of keeping programmes on track, we must also be a relationship manager, data analyst, and provide an objective and impartial view of the bigger picture throughout the process of change.

  • Objectivity: We need to maintain a strategic overview and separation from individual organisations. Bringing stakeholders back to the STP objectives when obstacles emerge and maintaining a focus on the strategic outcomes will help the programme move forward.
  • Relationship management: Facilitating discussion among the organisations involved, understanding their individual and common needs and ensuring they are talking the same language. Knowing when to involve all partners in a decision and when to devolve decisions to sub groups to allow those most affected to plan a solution to a specific issue.
  • Knowledge and skills: The more we can understand the environment in which each stakeholder is operating, the more confidence they will have in the team managing the project. In addition, a good understanding of data analysis helps us focus on the priority areas and flag up opportunities for alternative approaches.
  • Governance and procedures: Naturally, when working across organisations, it is essential to ensure partnership working is underpinned with the appropriate governance and project management procedures. This ensures projects progress on time and on budget, with careful consideration of the potential risks, and confidence in the shared responsibility to deliver the best outcomes.

STPs are undoubtedly ambitious. The pressure to deliver change at pace and scale means the depth of support required from project managers will be significant. As new challenges emerge, we must use all the skills and knowledge at our fingertips to accelerate and deliver this increasingly complex agenda.

This is a summary of a blog written for Healthcare Leader. To view the full blog visit http://healthcareleadernews.com/article/stps-need-advanced-project-management-skills-deliver-ambitious-change

To learn more about how Arden & GEM can support transformational change programmes, please click here.

Author: Chris Davies
chrisdavies

Chris is a programme manager with considerable experience of working across a wide range of NHS services from clinical governance and operational management through to service transformation and strategy and planning. Chris has spent the last 5 years working primarily in transformation within an integrated acute and community trust environment. Currently, Chris is leading on a number of whole system programmes focusing on service integration and urgent and emergency care.