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The issue:

Through the development of the UCLPartners Improvement Fellows Programme and our involvement in recruiting new Q members, we identified a gap for opportunities for those who are just getting started in improvement work. While they can usually access skills training and sometimes access project support, there are very limited opportunities for them to come together as a peer group to share learning and support each other. We felt that by developing a network of people from different professions and organisations, early in their improvement journey, it would not only help them in developing their projects but also start to foster the collaborative approaches that we look for in Q members.

Our approach:

Our first cohort of the UCLPartners Aspiring Improvers Programme launched in early 2018, providing the 12 participants with a combination of QI skills training, project support and themed learning sessions on topics that underpin and/or facilitate improvement, such as person centred care and sharing/spreading improvement. In addition, through the design of the sessions we are encouraging the participants to develop networking skills, to view and support each other as peers and helping them to see the value in collaborating with people outside of their usual professional or organisational groups. In the first six months of the programme, we have seen their confidence grow along with their ability to carry out their projects and critically evaluate their own and their fellow participants’ approaches.

We believe the programme has the potential to grow. The relatively small size of the cohort has had some benefits in developing trust, but we think there would be greater value in a larger cohort to provide a better mix of professions and organisations. We also want to think about the support available to the participants outside of the learning sessions. In recruiting this first cohort, we asked for nominations from the UCLPartners Improvement Fellows, who we envisaged would encourage less experienced members of their teams to apply and then support them through the programme duration. In practice this did not happen, potential applicants instead seeking out Fellows in their organisation to ask for a nomination and the ongoing contact and support being more ad hoc for most. Finally, we think there is an opportunity to utilise the skills and experience of existing Q members far more, to help us deliver a programme that will provide shared learning and experiences of leading improvement.

Our bid:

Our ambition is to grow this programme and make the links to the Q community explicit. In order to do this we think we need to:

  •        Work with existing Q members to identify potential candidates in their organisation.
  •        Strengthen the current programme by utilising Q members from across the whole community to run workshops/learning sessions, sharing their skills and experience.
  •       Develop a clear structure and pathway that will enable those participating on the programme to successfully join Q on completion.
  •       Support Q members to actively support and mentor the participants from their organisation as they run their improvement projects.
  •       Organise site visits, using the Q member community, to see improvement in action.

The funding requested is for venue costs for any sessions we can’t hold in-house, plus expenses for activities such as site visits and any speakers travelling from outside of London.

How you can contribute

  • • Feedback: would this work for you and your team? If not, what challenges do you think we need to overcome?
  • • Thoughts on how you see the Q community growing in your organisation and the changing support it could need.
  • • Ideas on potential workshops/learning sessions – and offers of support to deliver them.
  • • Input on updating the application material and recruitment process.


  1. Hi - this idea sounds a bit like the Improvement Fellows Network that we use in Yorkshire and Humber to support those who have shown any interest in QI, getting them ready and inspired to join Q. Alison Lovatt, a Q member set this up. I am sure she would be willing to share what worked and what didn't if you give her a shout!

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