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The King’s Fund And GSK, Partnering With Comic Relief, Launch New Programme To Improve Charity Leadership

The-Kings-Fund-logoA unique programme to develop the skills and knowledge of charity leaders is jointly launched today by The King’s Fund and GSK, in partnership with Comic Relief at a parliamentary reception.

Charities provide support for public services, particularly the NHS, social care and public health. Good leadership is key to the success of charities but there are still few leadership development opportunities for charities, and funding for development support is hard to come by. The Cascading Leadership Programme, launched today, enables charity leaders to share their extensive and varied expertise to help leaders of other charities develop their skills and abilities through peer-led consultations. The Dame Mary Marsh review in 2013 recognised leadership skills and abilities needed to be developed in the sector to ensure its sustainability.

The Cascading Leadership Programme builds on the success of the GSK IMPACT Awards, where winning health and wellbeing charities receive free training and leadership development as part of their prize and can join a network of 66 winning organisations, with more than 100 individual members, where they learn from experts as well as from each other. Feedback from the winning charities highlights the huge value these development opportunities provide to their organisations. The Cascading Leadership Programme supports these award winners to act as peer-consultants to develop leaders in a wider pool of charities selected by Comic Relief. This launch follows a very successful pilot of this peer-led approach that provide benefits for both those giving and receiving support, helping them think in new ways about their organisations, their skills and their network. It also found that guidance from another charity was particularly helpful because they understand the needs and requirements of the charity sector, according to Comic Relief’s independent evaluation processes.

Sir Christopher Kelly, Chair at The King’s Fund, said: ‘We are delighted to be launching this innovative leadership programme. Leadership is key to charities’ success and the quality of the services provided to service users. But in a time when charities are facing increasing financial pressures the space and time to develop leaders can seem like a luxury. We hope this programme brings leadership development into the mainstream and makes it accessible to many more charities.’

Phil Thomson, Senior Vice President, Communication & Government Affairs at GSK, said: ‘Having partnered with The King’s Fund for almost 20 years, together we have seen the GSK IMPACT Awards go from strength to strength, working alongside our Award winners helping them to develop their leadership and training skills.  The Cascading Leadership programme is a real investment in leaders of charities and we hope will benefit all those who rely on the inspirational work of these organisations.

Gilly Green, Head of UK Grants, Comic Relief, said:  “Comic Relief is proud to partner with the King’s Fund and GSK for the Cascading Leadership Programme. Strong leadership is crucial to any organisation to help ensure efficiency and effectiveness and this programme enables leaders to share their skills and knowledge which will ultimately work to strengthen the wider charity sector. We look forward to seeing how the programme develops so that learnings can be applied to deliver even greater impact in the future.”

During 2016, 15 pairs of consultants and clients will work on this project and a final evaluation will be published at the end of the year.

The programme is being launched at a parliamentary reception where Phil Thomson, GSK, Sir Christopher Kelly, The King’s Fund, Annabel Hodgson, No Limits

Sarah Swindley, Lancashire Women’s Centres and Greg Ussher, Metro Charity will give their thoughts about the programme.