KSS AHSN provided an independent evaluation of a programme to develop system leadership across Sussex and East Surrey STP (as it was at the time of the programme being delivered).

The project

Sussex and East Surrey Systems Leadership Programme ran three three-day events from March to November 2018, aimed at developing approaches to key ‘wicked issues’ within Sussex and East Surrey STP.

Partnering with the King’s Fund and funded by the NHS Leadership Academy, the events were designed to give delegates the chance to work on real-life wicked systems issues they were experiencing.

Key decision makers and influencers were invited to attend the sessions, and they in turn were asked to invite five or six people from across the system who would be working on the project with them.

The first session was run by the King’s Fund, the second by facilitators from across the STP and the King’s Fund, and the third by the facilitators from across the STP with the King’s Fund observing.

This approach ensured that the course could be replicated ‘in house’ in the future, thereby maximising the funding and expanding the potential scope of the initiative.

The request

KSS AHSN’s data and evaluation team was asked to carry out an independent evaluation of the development programme.

Helen Edmunds, Head of Leadership and Organisational Development (NHS Leadership Academy Kent Surrey & Sussex / Thames Valley Wessex), explained that while the team could have conducted their own evaluation, there were tangible benefits of securing KSS AHSN’s independent evaluation.

“It never feels comfortable to evaluate yourself, and with an independent analyst those on the programme are more likely to engage and say what they actually think,” she explained.

“We didn’t want people to just say ‘you’re great’ – we wanted to understand where we could help them to be better.

“We had set some money aside for the evaluation, and Guy Boersma, MD of KSS AHSN, generously matched our funding and allocated an analyst to carry out the evaluation for us.”

Our role

Luke Morton-Holtham was assigned to the project. He met with the group to explain his role and how delegates could get involved, helping to place the work in the context of an independent, external evaluation.

He was also able to help shape the questionnaires so that the correct data could be collected.

On completion of the sessions he analysed the findings and created an in-depth analysis report that presented and discussed findings from all three cohorts.


“Luke was great, and his engagement with the project really helped to get people to respond,” Helen said.

“His support around framing the questionnaire helped us to gain a much better insight into our work.

“As well as influencing how the training will develop in the future, we were able to use the report to clearly show the benefit of the work to the project’s funder.

“Everything leads back to whether or not the patient, or service, has a better outcome at the end of the process. We need to see whether the leadership and culture is changing, as that has benefits for the whole system, and the KSS AHSN’s analytics team gave us that insight.”