David Pearson is managing director of Premier Partnership.
The government has set up a taskforce to review the quality of leadership across the public sector chaired by Sir Gerry Grimstone, the lead non-executive director at the Ministry of Defence and chair of Standard Life. The group of 19 leading experts from across the public, private and third sectors will make recommendations for the role, remit, and creation of a ‘Centre for Public Service Leadership’ to improve management across government bodies. They will submit their findings in a report to Ministers due to be published later this year.
The Centre will share best practice across central government agencies, the NHS, local government and the wider public sector and complement work done by the existing Civil Service Leadership Academy and other groups. As a leading provider of leadership and management training to the public sector, we think that this initiative is an important one and will be watching closely as it develops.
The link between great leadership and productivity
Part of the thinking behind this initiative is that great leadership is crucial for improving productivity, which know is currently high on the Government’s agenda. The reason we specialise in leadership and management training as part of our commitment to improve organisational performance through learning and development is that the way leaders operate has a huge impact on the overall culture and how productive/effective all team members can be. Without strong leadership to set the tone for ways of working, unnecessary blocks can be put in place which stifle innovation and productivity at all levels.
Improving leadership for better value for money
Another priority for the development of the Centre for Public Service Leadership is to support public service leaders to deliver the highest quality services at the best value for money. The UK public sector has been through a significant transformation in recent years in response to budget cuts and it continues to face increasing pressure from its stakeholders to operate more effectively. This does not necessarily mean by being more commercial, but by being more people-centric and customer-focused in order to ensure that users of public services get the best deal. This has a knock on impact on society and the economy as a whole.
What the private sector can learn
The collective expertise of the taskforce set up to establish the Centre for Public Service Leadership will no doubt come up with some best practice principles that can also be applied by private and third sector organisations. The fact that there will be a Centre overseeing standards and ensuring consistent levels of quality of leadership and management across different organisations will be key to its success and private/third sector organisations could learn from this collaborative approach. Although leaders of all organisations are tasked with gaining a competitive edge, working together for wider benefit is the only answer to address the major productivity gap we are facing.
Find out more about our leadership and management training expertise: https://www.premier-partnership.co.uk/leadership-management/