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Public Leaders Report 2021

Ministerial introduction from the Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office

The Parliamentary Secretary at the Cabinet Office, Julia Lopez MP, introduces the Public Leaders Report 2021, recognising the vital role the public sector has played during the pandemic and what we all can learn.

Read a transcript of the Ministerial introduction.

Foreword from the Chair – Dame Sara Thornton

The COVID-19 pandemic changed the public sector’s relationships with citizens and communities. The public sector delivered extraordinary work in our communities, and those leading organisations had to adapt and learn at great pace. Throughout this unique report created by the National Leadership Centre and its partners, Chief Executives leading public service teams share their lessons on leadership, reflect on the year, and look forward to what lies ahead. The insights, knowledge, and inspiration from these stories have informed the refresh of the NLC’s activities as it looks ahead to 2022. The lessons learned about leadership will continue to be vital in the months ahead as we recover and rebuild.

Read the full foreword here.


The National Leadership Centre helps the country’s most senior public service leaders develop the skills, knowledge and networks required to address society’s most complex strategic challenges.

The National Leadership Centre was launched by the Government in 2019 to support cross sector leadership, helping people to collaborate on the toughest challenges the country faces.

The scale and complexity of demands on our public services continue to grow. Investing in leadership is an important part of improving delivery and supporting people to overcome a sense of isolation that often comes with becoming the most senior person of a public sector organisation.


The Leadership Programmes

Our leadership programmes bring together over 100 of the most senior people across the public sector each year.

Read more about our Programmes >


The Network of Peers

We bring together leaders across every sector and region to collaborate and improve public services.

Read more about the Network >


Research and Evaluation

The NLC is becoming a global hub of leadership data, high quality research and lessons learned.

Read more about NLC Research >