What we do

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. We do this by:

  1. Delivering leadership programmes for 100 outstanding CEO-level public service leaders and 20 high performing ethnic minority leaders each year
  2. Bringing together a network of the most senior public service leaders from all places to connect, collaborate, and share insights
  3. Developing quality research, evidence, and data about public sector leadership, always informing and improving what we do

The National Leadership Centre network has been amazing. At one point [of the COVID-19 pandemic], blood collection venues started to shut down on us, but another one of the people on the NLC programme was able to instruct his fire stations across the country to stay open for us. That was just amazing. I felt so supported.

Betsy Bassis, CEO of NHS Blood & Transplant

The National Leadership Centre was launched by the Government in September 2019 as the first of its kind, bringing senior leaders together to innovate public services.

The NLC also convenes a cross-sector group of partners and leadership academies. The group works together on common topics, such as sharing research and feedback. By understanding the context of wider leadership support, we create a coherent offer and best practice across the public sector.

"NLC's impact: a new CEO network; COVID support; better collaboration; better delivery"

Since the NLC was launched in September 2019, we have been proud to help senior leaders in the public sector. 

Our highlights have been:

  • creating the network of over 1,000 leaders across the public sector – the first of its kind
  • bringing together over 350 people for the National Leadership Forum in January 2020 – a first for the public sector at CEO level
  • running government’s first cross-sector CEO leadership programme for around 100 people
  • running government’s first cross-sector deputy-CEO programme for 20 outstanding ethnic minority leaders
  • an extensive series of support for leaders during the COVID-19 pandemic, including briefings on key topics and an online, cross-sector resource hub
  • the launch of the first Public Leaders Report, celebrating great collaboration over the last couple of years

“One programme delegate said that the confidence they gained from participating in the programme led them to contact the Chief Executive of another organisation to express an interest in doing more work together. That subsequently led to them collaborating on the development of a cross-system Integrated Care Academy (ICA) – the first of its kind in the UK. They are confident that this would not have happened if they had not participated in the programme. They have since raised over £9m for the ICA during the period of the pandemic and have more plans to develop similar initiatives to raise the profile and financial standing of their organisation.” – Extract from NLC year one evaluation

Learning anything requires commitment and the ability to push through the uncomfortable. While on the path to competency, a little motivation and support from experienced system leaders can go a long way. The NLC Programme provides that motivation and access to a network of people that inspire you to lead. I can’t recommend it enough.

Phil Garrigan, Chief Fire Officer of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service

Public Services Leadership Taskforce

The NLC was created following the recommendations of the Public Services Leadership Taskforce. The Taskforce advised the Government on the scope for a new body to support public service leaders and reported in October 2018. 

It found that the scale and complexity of demands on our public services continue to grow, and the weight of evidence suggests that bolstering public service leaders does make a difference to how well services can be delivered. The Taskforce also found that many leaders are struggling with the strategic complexity of the services they lead, while experiencing a sense of isolation amid the challenges that come with becoming the most senior person of a public service organisation.

View the recommendations from the Taskforce here.