Enhancing Practice


With a depth and breadth of expertise in areas of complex organisational systems and behaviour, along with a constancy of vision and detailed understanding of organisational and individual learning; we are able to provide accessible and innovative learning pathways and programmes, which are collaboratively designed with commissioners and practitioners in the industry. Working at all levels of the organisation with individuals and teams, our approach to learning is a guided journey of development;built upon the principles of adult learning,mutual respect, a collaborative spirit, action and reflection. Programmes are designed to providelearning opportunities within a practical working environment and are tied to strategic business goals. This approach enables individuals and teams to consider their development capability within their role and their organisation, to develop interconnected capacity in line with future needs.


An in depth understanding of public sector values and the context, in which practitioners must learn and operate, enables us to translate and interpret theory into practical concepts, which are applied using a range of techniques, models and tools. Programme content along with learning techniques are built upon the best available scientific evidence and are offered within four main strands of scholarship:

Strategic Leadership

Using innovative learning techniques, along with evidence based development tools we support leaders to adopt contemporary leadership practices combined with management behaviours, appropriate to the culture and context in which they work. Working to develop the strategic leadership and management practices and behaviours of over 3,000 leaders within the health and local government sectors has enabled us, together with our strategic partners to build an extensive data base of best leadership practices within the industry. This has enabled us to undertake collaborative research to identify trends and determine the exemplary leadership and management practices which will be required of future leaders within the public services sector.


Drawing heavily on seminal works related to human effectiveness within complex systems,this suite of programmes intends to support behaviours and practices which exemplify an empowered approach to accountability and responsibility in health and public service professionals.

Practice Development

Focused upon healthcare practice in the real world, these programmes are designed to challenge and support corporate level and clinical teams to improve patient care and experience, provide clear evidence of public value and improvement and develop visionary, leading edge services fit for a modernised healthcare system. Informed by a synthesis of evidence from the quality, evidence based and innovation fields, teams are encouraged to explore ways in which they can work more effectively together and in partnership with other agencies, engage in and embrace change and provide outstanding, evidence-based care of the highest quality, within existing resources.

Enterprise and Innovation

A suite of development programmes intended to inspire forward thinking, creative and enthusiastic individuals to innovate and think differently about themselves, their practice and the services they provide. Workplace coaching, Flexible Thinking,Ideas into Action, Building Effective Working Relationships, Whole Brain Thinking, Action Learning, Motivational Techniques in Action, Solution Focused Coaching, Facilitation, Secrets of Successful Groups and Social Enterprise are examples of transformational development initiatives.

Applied learning and development programmes may take the form of well established models, Train the Trainer or bespoke packages, where the design and delivery of programmes evolves to identified and emerging needs.

Bespoke programmes consist of combined features to support the development of leadership, management and practice based innovation capacity across organisations; regionally and nationally. Recent examples include:

The National Cancer Nurses Leadership Development Programme in collaboration with The Royal Marsden School of Cancer Nursing and Rehabilitation

North East Excellent Manager Programme – in conjunction with the Association of North East Councils Improvement Partnership forLocal Government

Building Capacity and Capability in Practice Development – in collaboration with Leonard Cheshire Disability, London and the South East

DreAMS Programme for Senior Adminand Clerical Staff and Medical Secretaries – in collaboration with Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust


Many organisations have benefitted from the individual and organisational learning inspired by these practical programmes and attribute success in implementing policy initiatives, improving service, and enhancing staff effectiveness to these programmes. Working closely and over many years with public sector organisations has honed our ability to design and deliver solutions that have real impact.

Case Study

A large team of nurses, care assistants and therapists work in a complex healthcare environment consisting of: a hospice, day centre, nursing home for the elderly and a community palliative care service. The team used the practice development programme framework to implement a wide range of patient-focused improvements to practice, and are now national leaders within their specialty.

Some of the outcomes for this team were:

  • The team took the initiative to join with the relevant government department and other providers to write national standards for palliative care.
  • The introduction of care pathways to support most elements of nursing practice within the care home. This was accompanied by training materials to support staff development and a 24-hour dedicated mobile phone help line.
  • The first hospice at home service in their region. Staffed by care assistants who provide a genuinely patient-focused service.
  • Innovative partnerships. Working with community pharmacists ensuring that palliative care patients in rural communities receive analgesic drugs more quickly on an “out of hours” basis.
  • The development of a region-wide training programme teaching nurses how to search for and critique evidence effectively.
  • Joint workshops with the local university on reflective practice, which have been evaluated using participants’ artwork.
  • Consultation with every patient as to the design and content of their memorial garden.
  • A healthcare assistant was able to implement evidence-based, patientfocused and innovative practice through developing an effective partnership with senior managers.

The team deliberately chose to develop practice as a combined team in order that all parts of the service were interconnected, with the result that each part of the service could understand and support all the others to the benefit of patients and their families.

Academic Leads

Gayle Garland