New leadership training center to educate Whitehall leaders on digital, data and agility



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

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

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

The ‘world’s leading institution’ will sit in the Cabinet Office and be part of the Government Campus for Skills, which was launched early last year to deliver on the promise of then Minister Michael Gove, to create “a campus with adequate resources to train people in government”.

It will have a “rigorous curriculum” integrating several existing programs, including the Civil Service Leadership Academy, the Civil Service Leadership Group and the National Leadership Center – an entity created at the Cabinet Office in 2019 to “bring together senior leaders to innovate service delivery” The NLC will become part of the Leadership College for Government (LCG) from April.

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The new-look training organization will also support accelerated development programs, including the Future Leaders program for promising 6th and 7th graders, and the Ethnic Minority Talent Association programs.

Documents posted on the LCG’s new GOV.UK website say that as part of its ‘foundations of public administration’ work, it will provide training in delivering agile projects, basic digital skills – such as “Excel, PowerPoint and Social Media” – and a “data masterclass” for leaders.

‘Foundations’ work is one of the five main strands of the government skills agenda, alongside: working in government; lead and manage; specialized skills; and domain knowledge. The specialist skills track covers profession-specific skills, including digital, data, and technology training modules that aim to “build deep expertise” among senior DDaT professionals.

In November, the Deputy Director of Leadership Programs Strategy for the Skills and Government Programs Unit said the programs offered under the various leadership initiatives would be updated to ensure they were “complementary, consistent and effective.

In a blog post announcing this week’s announcement, Caroline Murray said the training will focus on the three “ps” of people, performance and partnership skills.

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

“Its work will be underpinned by a cohesive curriculum framework to ensure clarity, accuracy and accessibility of 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 locations in the Midlands, the North East and Yorkshire and the Humber.

Training will be offered not only to civil servants but also to agents of local authorities, in particular the directors general and senior managers of local authorities.

“This will help build local leadership capacity across the UK, supporting coaching efforts to empower local leaders… [and] increase collaboration between central and local government and between local governments,” the leveling white paper states.

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