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9 Guiding Principles for Leadership and Management

7th January 2015

Extract from Leadership and Management Development for Social Work and Social Care: Creating Leadership Pathways of Progress

We believe that effective Leadership and Management programme development requires us to work flexibly within the guiding principles set out below.

1. Building productive and effective relationships between employers and educators

We recognise the fundamental importance, highlighted by the Social Work Reform Board (2010), of working in partnership with employers to develop programmes which meet the educational and developmental needs of the profession as well as in meeting local needs for workforce development. In practice we do this by actively involving employers in the development and management of our programmes.

2. Developing local bespoke programmes

We work in partnership with employers to tailor our programmes to meet local needs in all aspects of delivery which includes delivering the programmes in local areas, working together to develop a model of delivery which is both effective for learning as well as minimizing the impact at a team level. The Social Work Reform Board recommended that Continuing Professional Development (CPD) should be delivered in a variety of ways in terms of both delivery and assessment. In response to this we have introduced a new module as part of our CPD framework which enables employers to work in partnership with us to develop bespoke assessed units that offer the opportunity for a variety of CPD/Training programmes, which may be work-based or delivered by external providers, to be assessed using validated learning outcomes. This offers both students and employers flexibility in meeting local CPD needs.

3. Accrediting Previous Learning (APL)

There are two important points here:Firstly a focus on continuing professional development, ensuring that all learning under this umbrella, if appropriate, is accredited academically.
The second is to ensure that the benefits of accreditation for prior learning and experience, is also fully realised and accumulated as academic credit.

4. Meeting National Standards

Our programmes are developed and delivered to meet the requirements of the new Professional Capabilities Framework (PCF) which replaces the PQ framework and the experienced programme team will closely monitor developments and respond by ensuring that the programmes are updated to meet all relevant professional benchmarks at the earliest opportunity. We have received endorsement by The College of Social Work, which signals that that our organisation and programmes have been scrutinised and evaluated by TCSW, and meet appropriate quality criteria.

Our programmes are also validated against the universities’ nationally agreed quality assurance agency for higher education guidance and benchmarked standards.

5. Focusing on capability rather than competence

At Bournemouth University we have always recognised the limitations of a narrow competence based approach to teaching and assessing professional practice. Because of this, the focus of our programmes is in encouraging and facilitating the development and assessment of professional capability. We believe that this enables students to develop as critically reflective practitioners, able to approach their role creatively and use professional judgement effectively.

6. Programmes should be aligned to a leadership strategy and an organisational development plan

Aligning leadership programmes with wider organisational leadership strategies and development plans, crucially matches learning requirements to the underlying management model and needs. This principle is important to maximise the systemic impact of planned leadership development.

We have developed a framework which allows the student to build on previous learning and ultimately achieve a Masters level award, accumulating academic credits as they progress through the levels.

7. Focus on ‘self-leadership’

Self-leadership is about working from the ‘inside out’ – of quite literally getting individuals to think and then behave differently. The essence of individual accountability and responsibility together with the notion that everyone is a leader is simply about how they lead themselves.However, this focus is not simply about ‘self’ and recognises the importance and power of collective leadership , the ability and significance of systemic relationships but starts with self as an integral foundation to work upon.

8. Concentrate on the assessment of impact and outcomes

This is about making all professional development count and ensuring that there are assessable outcomes to verify that learning has not only taken place but the new knowledge, skill or application has been properly assimilated.

9. Programmes should be evaluated

We understand that employers want good returns from investments in staff development. This means that our programmes must demonstrate not only that they are cost effective but that appropriate learning from the programme is transferred to practice where it improves outcomes for both practitioners and vulnerable children, families and carers. All Bournemouth University programmes are regularly evaluated with summary information available for employers. More detailed evaluations of the impact of specific programmes can be undertaken by the staff team.


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