Changing leaders-changing lives

‘Changing Leaders, Changing Lives’ was a revolutionary new programme that set out to create new and innovative plans to improve the lives of the most disadvantaged families in Suffolk, whilst at the same time develop a core group of community leaders who could make that change happen.

The programme was commissioned by the Suffolk Collaborative, a group of chief executives of public, private and voluntary sector organisations across Suffolk, itself created through the Lives We Lead programme. The Changing Leaders, Changing Lives programme offered a unique opportunity for participants to join a diverse and dynamic group of politicians, professionals, local leaders and community members, with very different expertise and experience, but a shared commitment to making a difference for citizens and families in Suffolk.

For the cohort of professionals who undertook the programme, the experience proved to be intense, exciting and challenging. For 20 days over 10 weeks, they were stewarded through a pioneering programme of analysis, community engagement and innovation.

They learned new theories and techniques and discovered new ways of understanding people, analysing situations and approaching problems. Their journey was not academic or abstract, but focused on real life and real work, thus people ‘learned through doing’. By the end of the programme, each member of the cohort developed as people and as leaders, and importantly, shared a clear vision and plans for changing services and support for the most vulnerable families in Suffolk.

In terms of collective impact, the cumulative outcome was that Suffolk’s Children and Young People Directorate reduced costs by £7 million (a figure that increased year on year), whilst simultaneously increasing the capacity of the system to focus effort on priority cases.