National School of Government
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Nominations are now sought from government departments for the second Cohort of Leaders UnLtd - a new leadership development scheme designed specifically for UK civil servants working at Grade 6/7 (or equivalent) who are women, have a disability, or are from minority ethnic backgrounds.

The result of a partnership between the Cabinet Office and the National School of Government, Leaders UnLtd seeks to equip talented people in groups currently under-represented at senior levels in government with the leadership skills they need for entry to the Senior Civil Service (SCS).

Speaking alongside Leaders UnLtd sponsor Hugh Taylor (Permanent Secretary, Department of Health) at the induction event for Cohort One at Sunningdale Park, Gill Rider, Director General, Leadership and People Strategy at the Cabinet Office, and National School Board Member, congratulated the successful applicants. She told those present: “It is essential that leadership talent in the Civil Service is both recognised and put to use, and the fact that you are all here means that someone has spotted your talent, and invested in you. Ultimately, the more diverse Civil Service organisations become, the better they reflect the communities they serve, and the more creative and productive they are.”

Looking ahead to Cohort Two, Paula McDonald, Deputy Director for Workforce Reform at the Cabinet Office, who led development of the scheme for the National School, explained: “Whilst Leaders UnLtd is designed for staff from under-represented groups, its content is concerned purely with leadership excellence. The selection criteria are demanding, and its content is relevant to the real-life challenges facing leaders and their organisations.” Entry onto the scheme is by departmental nomination, and successful completion of a one day Assessment and Development Centre. All nominees who attend the Centre will receive detailed feedback, with those who are successful having a leadership development plan based on the results.

Participants will then learn, work and build networks with peers from across the Civil Service in the ‘core’ part of the programme. With a stress on leadership and the Professional Skills for Government (PSG) framework, this part of the programme includes symposia, action learning sets, one-to-one coaching and careers counselling. A commitment to personal development will see participants tackle live workplace issues and develop identified learning needs through a ‘business critical project’, with input and support from line managers and coaches. A ‘personalised bursary’ will be made available for participants to spend on learning appropriate to their leadership development plans.

Key to the process – and a first for a corporate leadership programme of this kind - is a ‘learning compact’. Set within the context of the Civil Service 10-Point Plan for Diversity, the compact sees participants and their departments enter into an agreement ensuring long-term support for the individual’s career and leadership development on the one hand, and their departmental business and service objectives on the other. On successful completion of Leaders UnLtd, and subsequently meeting job-related performance objectives, women and participants from an ethnic minority background will be invited to join an appropriate SCS competition. Those with a disability will be guaranteed an appropriate SCS-level interview or participation in a departmental SCS promotion assessment centre. All promotions will be on merit.

More information on Leaders UnLtd, including trial tests for potential applicants, is available at: . Enquiries can be emailed to: . The deadline for nominations is 29 June 2007.

Notes to editors:

1. As the Government’s centre of excellence for learning and development, the National School of Government became a separate government department in January 2007. Under Principal and Chief Executive David Spencer, it strives to ensure the highest professional and academic standards in public service organisational and people development. Visit  for more information.

2. Leaders UnLtd is one of a suite of corporate Civil Service leadership development programmes developed and run by the National School of Government’s Centre for Strategic Leadership. Visit  for more information.

3. The Civil Service 10-point plan for diversity - setting out commitments on the key areas that are intended to achieve broad and deep cultural change across the Civil Service - is available at  

For media enquiries, please contact Rob Reynolds, National School of Government; email: ; tel 01344 634145; m 07881 518719, or Chris Blunkell, Media Associate; email: ; tel: 01227 772747; m 07941 831341.

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