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Our work
Our work

Developing strategy with South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

We created a highly participative engagement process with staff to help develop SLaM’s strategy. The result is a strategy that staff genuinely feel reflects their views.

The challenge

South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (SLaM) provides a wide range of NHS mental health and substance misuse services.

Around 4,600 staff serve a local population of nearly two million people through 230 services, including inpatient wards, outpatient and community services.

The Trust’s strategic ambition is to offer every person who experiences mental health problems outstanding treatment and support to live a fulfilling life.

This challenge was to build on the work that had already been done to create that strategy, so it would be owned and led by staff across the organisation.

Our approach

Our proposal was designed to give SLaM’s transformation programme the foundations it needed for long-term success.

We based it on the ‘Social Change Model’ of leadership that sees positive change as a result of collaboration underpinned by a set of shared values and behaviours.

To enable that collaboration, we created a highly participative engagement process that was designed to engage staff across the organisation.

We started by setting up a reference group and hosted a series of engagement events for the organisation to learn from its past. Then we selected a group (the Listening into Action Strategy Group) made up of a cross section of staff to lead on organisation-wide engagement. The group spoke with all areas of the Trust over five weeks to produce key recommendations to implement the strategy successfully.

The process itself demonstrated a real departure from previous strategies. It placed staff as the leaders of this engagement and supported them to shape conversations about the aims, as well as focus efforts on specific groups who might not otherwise be heard.

So, what’s changed?

The strategy process is still ongoing and will be evaluated, but already there’s been great feedback on the process and how engaged staff feel in the delivery and the ambition of the strategy. That’s been realised in three ways.

1. Staff enthusiasm and ownership

The staff feel empowered and included in the strategy process. Here is some of the feedback we have had on the way staff in the SLaM Listening into Action Strategy Group felt about developing the strategy together.

“Absolutely fantastic and empowering. It felt like we had a direct line to the Board, which was phenomenal.”

“Being part of the group was incredibly energising.”

2. Development of skills and shared values

Here is what the Listening into Action group said about how co-producing their findings developed other skills for them. There was a strong sense that this was not just about strategy but it helped them develop skills they could use in their day jobs too.

“It professionally developed me so much.”

“Should be part of everyone’s job.”

3. Constructive and illuminating conversations with the board

For this project to deliver, it needed buy-in from both the staff and the board. Having that support was what enabled this project  to make the impact it did.

“It really makes such a significant impact to have this incredible breadth of feedback from our staff, who have clearly listened and engaged so intently and with such motivation.”

Charlotte Hudson, Director of Corporate Affairs, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

The strategy called ‘Aiming High; Changing Lives’ has now been launched – you can find details of it on the SLaM website. 


Aiming High; Changing Lives 

We have a really ambitious vision for the Trust but in an organisation of this size it is easy for strategy to feel very removed from service delivery. Kaleidoscope worked with us to help staff get involved and share their views in a meaningful way.  The approach they took was tailored to us and really set the tone for the organisation we want to be – enhancing what we had in place to give a feeling of evolution. We successfully launched our strategy, and staff genuinely feel it reflects their views, which is a great place to be.

Ranjeet Kaile, Director of Communications, Stakeholder Engagement and Public Affairs, South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust

Our work