5th July until 16th December 2021

We have distilled our 30 years of unique experience teaching the Vanguard Method into this powerful online programme for senior and emerging leaders. Our systems leadership programme teaches people from across public, private and third sectors how to achieve the ambitions of integrated services.

You can follow the steps that others have taken to make dramatic improvements to services while also reducing operating costs – and at a fraction of the cost of hiring a Vanguard expert.

The first programme is what we call ‘check’ – how to study your organisation empirically as a system, alongside partners and other key stakeholders. This reveals the (usually massive) scope for improvement and gets you to a place where you know you’ll be able to make a big difference, and you’ll see the means – what you’ll need to do.

You’ll be buzzing with enthusiasm to get on with it – see what others say.

Who the course is for

This programme is for those working for public, private, and third sector organisations whose services are primarily concerned with people’s welfare. We describe these services as people centred systems. People who have already benefitted from our people centred systems courses include:

  • Chief executive officers
  • Directors and managers of adult social care services
  • Directors and managers of children’s services
  • Health and social care managers
  • Housing and homelessness managers
  • Commissioning managers
  • Change, transformation and improvement leads
  • Programme leads

We know that people particularly value the opportunity to learn alongside others from different organisations on our people centred systems courses.

It will be necessary for participants to identify a cohort of co-learners and leaders in their service and in partner organisations who they can work with during the programme.

Method of delivery

The learning will be through a combination of interactive workshops delivered live online, self-guided practical assignments and complete access to the Vanguard portal of online resources.

The programme runs from Monday 5 July 2021 to Thursday 16 December 2021. There are no days scheduled throughout August.

The live group sessions with Vanguard experts will take place on the following provisional dates, which will be finalised when the group is together:

  • Monday 5th and Thursday 8th July (2 full days)
  • Thursday 22nd July (half day)

Course breaks for summer

  • Thursday 2nd September (half day)
  • Fortnightly half day sessions until Thursday 25th November
  • Monday 13th December and Thursday 16th December (full days)

You will have independent learning and work-based activities in the form of videos, animated content, written work, and practical assignments to be completed in between live group sessions.

You will be able to apply what you learn immediately in your own workplace. Your practice will be validated through feedback from Vanguard experts, and the programme is designed around the application of the Vanguard Method to your own work setting, alongside a team of colleagues or partners.

Programme outcomes

On completion of the six-month programme, you will have the developed the following skills and knowledge:

Systems leadership skills

  • An alternative vision for the design and management of your system
  • An understanding of the true purpose of your system from the citizen’s point of view
  • The intervention and leadership skills necessary to work with colleagues, partners and key stakeholders in the process of system change
  • Knowledge of the best place to start when transforming a people centred system
  • An understanding of different system archetypes
  • The ability to work across organisational boundaries

Understanding demand, what matters, case mapping and flow

  • The ability to lead an empirical analysis of demand coming into your system
  • The ability to understand what really matters to citizens
  • An evidence-based understanding of how well your current system is performing
  • The skills to work with a team to map cases across people centred systems
  • An empirical understanding of the barriers (or system conditions) affecting performance, and the thinking that created them
  • The ability to identify the waste and the causes of waste in your system, and its impact on costs and capacity


  • The ability to work with others to develop good measures in your own system
  • Knowledge of how to use measures at different levels of the organisation and system
  • The ability to tell a good from a bad measure
  • An understanding of leading and lagging measures, and the economics of your system
  • The ability to apply good measures within the parameters of regulatory frameworks


  • The ability to establish the basis for a system redesign
  • An understanding of the implications for roles and structures
  • The ability to develop a new purpose and new operating principles for your system
  • Developing intervention skills: applying Egan’s model of ‘the Skilled Helper’ in order to enable others to analyse their problems and develop action strategies.

Continued learning

You will be supported to continue your learning by taking part in our Alumni community of skilled interventionists after completing the course.

Everyone who completes the first systems leadership programme successfully will be eligible to apply for the second part of the systems leadership programme, which equips you with the skills to continue redesign and make sustainable system change.


This programme costs £2000 + VAT per delegate.


There is one bursary, worth £2000, available for the first programme starting in July 2021. The deadline for applications is 5pm on Monday 26th May 2021.

We will award the bursary to the person who has the most potential to achieve sustainable systems change. There are six essential criteria, including the ability to identify a cohort of co-learners to work with during the course.

Apply for the bursary

Secure your place

To secure a place on this programme now, please complete the booking form and email it to pr@vanguardconsult.co.uk

If you would like to discuss whether the course is suitable for you, please contact Emma Ashton at emma@vanguardconsult.co.uk

If you are interested in a similar course but with an academic input and post-graduate certification, see the course we run with Kingston University and St George’s University of London here.