New leadership training hub to instruct Whitehall leaders on digital, data and agile

New training hub for senior officials will teach agile delivery and core digital skills as part of its ‘foundations of public administration’ course

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A new Leadership College for Government will open in April as part of an overhaul of public sector leadership and management training, it has been announced.

The college, announced in this week’s levelling up white paper, will be the “centrepiece” of management skills development reform and will “equip public and civil service leaders with the skills, knowledge and networks to solve today’s most complex problems”.

Core training for senior managers will include modules on agile methods, basic digital skills, and use of data.

The “world-leading institution” will sit within the Cabinet Office and will form part of the Government Campus for Skills, which was launched at the beginning of last year to deliver on a promise by then-Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove to create a “properly resourced campus for training people in government”.

It will have a “rigorous curriculum” incorporating several existing programmes, including the Civil Service Leadership Academy, Civil Service Leadership Group, and the National Leadership Centre – an entity set up in the Cabinet Office in 2019 to “bring senior leaders together to innovate public services”. The NLC will become part of the Leadership College for Government (LCG) from April.

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The new-look training organisation will also take on the accelerated development schemes, including the Future Leaders Scheme aimed at promising Grade 6 and 7s, and the Minority Ethnic Talent Association programmes.

Documents published on the LCG’s newly created GOV.UK website indicate that, as part of its “foundations of public administration” work, it will provide training on agile project delivery, core digital skills – such as “Excel, PowerPoint, and social media” – and a “data masterclass” for leaders.

The “foundations” work is one of five core strands of government’s skills curriculum, alongside: working in government; leading and managing; specialist skills; and domain knowledge. The specialist skills track covers profession-specific skills, including digital, data and technology training modules that aim to “develop deep expertise” among senior DDaT professionals.

In November, the deputy director of leadership programmes strategy for the Government Skills and Curriculum Unit said schemes being offered through the various leadership initiatives would be updated to ensure they were “complementary, coherent, and effective”.

In a blog post foreshadowing this week’s announcement, Caroline Murray said training would focus on the three ‘ps’ of people, performance and partnership skills.

The leadership college will deliver a number of short and long programmes alongside events to “unite and develop civil service and public sector leaders with potential for the most senior roles”.

“Its work will be underpinned by a coherent curriculum framework to ensure clarity, precision and accessibility in the skills, knowledge, and qualities we expect and need for effective government,” the college said.

In-person training for the college will be delivered at three physical sites in the Midlands, the northeast, and Yorkshire and the Humber.

Training will be offered not only to civil servants but to local government staff, particularly local authority chief executives and senior officers.

“This will help to build local leadership capability across the UK, supporting accompanying efforts to empower local leaders… [and] increase collaboration between central and local government and across local government,” the levelling up white paper said.


Sam Trendall

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