Leadership and CLF

There is a direct link between good performance in social services and effective leadership. Developing leadership at all levels in the social service sector is important if services are to overcome future challenges and develop in line with key policy drivers such as the integration of health and social care, the implementation of self-directed support and the development of services in early learning and childcare.

From 2010 to 2016, the SSSC and partners took forward the strategic direction for leadership development detailed in the Strategy for building leadership capacity in Scotland's social services 2013-2015. We did this work in collaboration with the social service workforce, employers, people who use services and carers, training providers and national bodies in social services. It was informed by a piece of research called Leading Together which was published in 2010.

Building on this further research, Enabling leadership was completed in 2016. It identifies what good leadership looks like in Scotland’s social services. This has informed Enhancing leadership capability: The strategy for enhancing the leadership capability of Scotland’s social services: Delivery plan 2017-2020 which we published in December 2016. Led by the Scottish Social Services Leadership Strategy Group, which includes the SSSC, this sets out how leadership will be developed across the sector and aims to take leadership in Scotland’s social services to the next level.

Its vision is for frontline workers, managers and strategic leaders to recognise, understand, develop and use their leadership capability to contribute to service design and delivery that meets the personal outcomes of people using services.  In doing so it anticipates that people receiving services have the opportunity to develop their own leadership capability and influence the design and delivery of the services they receive.

Leadership and CLF capabilities

We developed the Continuous Learning Framework (CLF) in partnership with the Institute for Research and Innovation in Social Services (IRISS) as one of the recommendations made by Changing Lives: the Report of the 21st Century Social Work. It launched in 2008. It illustrates the need for workers and organisations to develop knowledge, skills and values and to recognise this by achieving qualifications, developing cultures to support learning and developing the softer skills and behaviours required to deliver social services that meet peoples’ needs. The different parts of the CLF underpin all of the workforce development and planning work of the SSSC, and contribute particularly to leadership development.

Leadership knowledge, skills and values are detailed in National Occupational Standards (NOS) such as the Leadership and Management for Care Services NOS and other practice standards. Sitting alongside these are the six leadership capabilities which are the capabilities that the social service workforce told us needed to be developed by workers in social services. These are:

  • vision
  • self-leadership
  • motivating and inspiring
  • empowering others
  • collaborating and influencing
  • creativity and innovation.

The six leadership capabilities are designed to build on the CLF personal capabilities which describe the behaviours and softer skills that workers need to develop themselves and their relationships with others.

At the heart of the SSSC’s leadership development activity is the Step into Leadership website. It provides access to tools and resources to help workers, managers, strategic leaders and people who use services explore the concept of leadership at all levels and develop their own leadership capability, whatever their role in social services. It invites people to plan their own leadership pathway, and use the leadership capabilities as a basis for planning their leadership learning.

We want to hear from you

We’re interested in hearing from people in the sector who are developing, or would like to develop, their personal, leadership or organisational capability. If you have any stories that you think would be of interest to others and that you would be willing to share on Step into Leadership or the CLF website, please contact us at: leadership@sssc.uk.com or clf.enquiries@sssc.uk.com.