Systems Leadership Programme

The Systems Leadership Programme is a flagship development programme investing in the next generation of senior leaders in public services. It brings together talented professionals from across organisational boundaries It is designed for aspiring leaders who share a passion for leadership and want to contribute to the leadership of a thriving and unique city or place.


We live in an increasingly complex and changing world. Covid-19 and the cost-of living crisis have brought unprecedented financial pressures on public and third sector bodies and exacerbated existing inequalities in the communities we serve. This, coupled with the fiscal challenge and engaging in the levelling up agenda, climate change and racial and socio-economic inequalities mean there has never been a stronger need for leaders to be adaptable and collaborate across organisational and professional boundaries.

Key Information

Dates: TBC

Duration:  Around 8 months

Format: Face-to-face workshops as well as applied work to a live systems leadership challenge between modules

Fee: c£2000 per participant

Faculty: Faculty will be drawn from our pool of leadership experts

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Who is the programme for?

The programme is for anyone operating at Head of Service or Assistant Director Level (or equivalent) with a passion for leadership and a can-do attitude towards exploring new ways of leading.

Some of the characteristics we would like to see in participants:

  • passionate about public service
  • exhibiting excellent current performance
  • aspires to the next challenge
  • has show the ability to learn and develop

We are not expecting you to be the finished article of course so if you recognise some of these characteristics in your own leadership and see some others you would like to develop this could well be the development opportunity for you.

Benefits for you

The Systems Leadership Programme will support your development in the following areas:


  • Showing integrity and using judgement
  • Understanding your place’s unique context
  • Supporting effective systems leadership across your place
  • Leading and working in diverse organisations
  • Developing the perspectives and mindsets essential for collaborative working
  • Nurturing and developing your own talent and the talents of the people you lead
  • Embracing diversity in organisations and communities
  • Supporting collaborative, sustainable networks in your place
  • Leading in unexpected and previously unknown environments

Focus and Structure

The programme is comprised of six full day face to face workshops plus a half a day launch event and half day graduation.

The core module themes are:

Module 1: Leading in the System

Module 2: Working in a Political environment

Module 3: Addressing Inequality

Module 4: Leading in Communities

Module 5: Future of your place

Module 6: Self in the system

The programme is underpinned by some core principles that are central to all of our work:


  • Co-design with participants contributes to personal and peer learning
  • Application to live place-based challenges creates change in human social systems
  • Recognising and celebrating diversity reinforces a commitment to equality
  • and inclusion
  • Reflection and learning develop the capacity to work in and with complexity
  • Peer learning expands perspectives and fosters meaningful long-term connections


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