About the Programme


As part of our work to increase physical activity levels, tackle inequalities and position an active lifestyle  as a vital tool to address a range of social issues, a new online system leadership programme has been commissioned by Active Partnerships. The aim of the programme is to equip staff at all levels with the knowledge and skills they need to become effective system leaders.

The programme will be structured around 4 core themes comprising of 8 learning modules in total, that will enable participants to build both their personal approach to change and their ability to build collaborative action:

  • The foundations of systems leadership – exploring what it means to think through a systems lens, and to understand the particular system you are trying to influence; the mindsets and approaches suited to exercising leadership in this context; and your role in leading change.
  • Becoming a system activist – developing the skills and behaviours needed to become more effective in creating systemic change;
  • Building collaborative capacity and taking collaborative action – systems leadership is a team game. This theme will shift focus from the personal towards the organisational and systemic, and understand what is needed to take sustained collaborative action.
  • Learning as a driver of system change – learning is a critical driver of change in complex systems, at the personal, organisational and systemic levels. This module will explore both the importance of organisational learning habits and culture, and how to measure impact without distorting performance.

More details about each theme and the modules including dates can be found here.

The programme aims to complement other leadership opportunities currently in progress or planned at a local and national level, and representatives from Active Partnerships and Sport England have been part of the steering group co-designing the programme.

Who is it for?​

Active Partnership staff at all levels interested in deepening and strengthening their understanding of the core ideas and to translate these ideas into practical action in new ways. Active Partnerships are free to decide who is best placed to attend and 2 places are available per live module per Active Partnership, with on-demand content available to everyone (see below).

Leadership in this context is not about job title, seniority, or the budget a person controls. Within complex systems, effective leadership can come from anywhere, mobilising the widest range of resources and intervening to create ripples of change across a range of settings and stakeholders. It is leadership viewed not as a role (something you are) but as an activity (something you do). 

Who is the facilitator & learning style?

Colleagues from Collaborate CIC (experts in designing and delivering bespoke leadership programmes for a wide range of partners) will facilitate the programme. Collaborate CIC are currently working with local authority CEOs, Essex LDP and have previously supported the 2019 Active Partnerships Convention.

Anna, Jeff and Elle will be leading the programmes and their profiles can be found here.

Across the 4 core themes there will be 8 modules of learning, that will mix teaching and discussion with more practical exercises, tools and tips, and reflective sessions to apply learning. The exact mix will be tailored to the theme of the module. The course will draw on expertise and examples of good practice that already exist across the Active Partnerships and from other sectors, with a deliberate focus on learning from peers and building these connections.

In addition, content for each live module will be recorded and made available on-demand for participants to access in their own time and share with their teams and partners.


There are 2 places available per Active Partnership per module. We have restricted the number to 2 per Active Partnership to keep the numbers manageable whilst trying to maximise the number of people who can access the learning. The same 2 people can attend all the modules, or the Active Partnerships can mix and match according to your local needs.

Important, please note:

  • There is a natural build between modules 1, 2 and 3 and therefore these will be bundled together when booking.
  • Before accessing modules 4-8 we would expect you to attend the live learning sessions or watch the recorded on-demand versions of module 1-3 to give you a good basic knowledge.
  • Before accessing any of the ‘skills sessions’ (as part of module 4) we would expect you to attend the live learning session or watch the recorded on-demand version of module 4 to give you a good basic knowledge.
  • Where a live learning session includes a peer-led learning session, by registering for this module, you are also committing to attend the peer-led session.

On-demand content & resource materials accessible to all

Content for each module will be recorded and made available on-demand alongside relevant resource materials (e.g. reading, tools, templates, vlogs etc) and held on the repository and will be available to all participating Active Partnerships, including those who have not attended the live learning sessions. We would encourage Active Partnerships to use these resources creatively as conversation starters / learning opportunities with your teams and wider partners, linking to local priorities.

Online learning platform

Colleagues participating in the live or on-demand sessions will be given access to the online learning platform. This will be a (TBC) platform and will enable you to raise any points (e.g. learning, questions, opportunities, challenges) in real time, and colleagues will be encouraged to participate. Collaborate CIC colleagues will also join the platform and will be able to participate in conversations.

Cost & Booking

The cost to Active Partnerships is heavily subsidised  via the Active Partnerships national improvement budget. To keep the cost structure simple, and to off-set some of the costs, we will charge each participating Active Partnership, £300 (plus VAT) for the entire programme, providing 2 places per module and unlimited access to the on-demand content, resource material and online learning platform. A member of the Active Partnerships national team will be in touch to arrange payment once the first person from your Active Partnership has booked a place.

Please book at least 2 weeks in advance of each session.

CIMSPA Accreditation

The programme attracts CIMPSA CPD points as follows:

Theme A

  • 3 CPD points for modules 1-3

Theme B

  • 3 CPD points for module 4
  • 1 CPD point each for the 4 skills sessions

Theme C

  • 2 CPD points each for modules 5 & 7
  • 1 CPD points for module 6

Theme D

  • 2 CPD points for module 8.

Total CPD points available = 15.

Further information
Please contact ncouzens@activepartnerships.org