NHS High Potential Scheme

The NHS High Potential Scheme (HPS) is a new, innovative and funded, 24-month career development scheme to help high potential, aspiring middle level clinical or non-clinical leaders accelerate their career to senior executive roles at a faster pace.

It is being developed by the NHS Leadership Academy and currently in a pilot phase with co-design, development, and introduction taking place in partnership with seven Sustainability and Transformation Partnerships (STP) and Integrated Care System (ICS) areas across England.

The partnership in Lancashire and South Cumbria is looking to recruit 20 High Potential Scheme participants to commence their development programme in July 2020.

Applications for the first cohort of the High Potential Scheme in Lancashire and South Cumbria closed on Tuesday 18th February 2020.

The NHS High Potential Scheme is currently in pilot phase and as such we would encourage and welcome feedback from applicants about the application process. This will allow further development of this process and the scheme overall.

To provide feedback, please record your comments in an email and send to the national NHS Leadership Academy HPS team at highpotentialscheme@leadershipacademy.nhs.uk.

from on Vimeo.


If you are a middle level clinical or non-clinical leader with the potential and interest to progress into a senior executive role in health and care, the new NHS High Potential Scheme offers a uniquely tailored two-year career development opportunity. You’ll develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours to become an outstanding, compassionate and inclusive senior leader across health and care.

As part of the programme, participants will be matched with a career coach who will help shape a unique and innovative two-year programme of experience focusing on gaining practical leadership experience in a range of roles and settings, and strategic experience through assignments and projects.

Applicants for the High Potential Scheme must:

  • work in an NHS-funded role, based within Lancashire & South Cumbria ICS;
  • be a middle level leader i.e. AfC 8a-8d or equivalent in other pay structures, clinical or non-clinical;
  • be interested in progressing their career to senior leadership roles e.g. board or governing body level;
  • be ready and willing to learn and develop their leadership skills and behaviours;
  • be able to demonstrate compassionate and inclusive leadership values and style;
  • be working towards one of the two career transitions identified for the High Potential Scheme.

Diversity and inclusion

Diversity and inclusion are at the heart of the NHS High Potential Scheme, so middle level clinical or non-clinical leaders from underrepresented groups such as BAME, LGBT+, female, and those with disabilities are encouraged to apply - mirroring the richness and diversity of the NHS workforce.

We are also able to offer additional support throughout the application process to applicants who are from underrepresented groups. If you would like to access this support, please email healthierlsc.highpotential@nhs.net.

How to apply

To apply for the NHS High Potential Scheme, you are required to:

  • read all information for applicants and supporting documentation;
  • complete an online application form including your career stage self-assessment;
  • complete an online potential diagnostic;
  • attend an assessment centre comprising of an interview and scenario exercise.

Before applying, you’ll need to seek the support of your line manager or another senior sponsor within your organisation. Line managers/sponsors will be required to support your learning and development throughout the scheme. If you are currently on secondment, please ensure that you also obtain the support of your substantive line manager or organisation before applying for the High Potential Scheme. If you are having difficulties identifying or obtaining a sponsor, please send an email to healthierlsc.highpotential@nhs.net.

Please note, as this is a pilot scheme we are only able to take forward 84 applications through the assessment process. As a result, we reserve the right to close the application window early if we receive a high volume of applications. If you have any queries about this, please contact us.