LAB service launched for civil service leadership training

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The government’s new centre for learning and development, the National School of Government, has launched a new leadership assurance and benchmarking (LAB) service.

The new ‘light-touch’ service is designed to help departments ensure that in-house leadership development is effective, delivers a return on investment and supports the corporate leadership agenda across government.

It offers a constructive approach to assessment based on the National School’s strategic leadership development model, which reflects the components of world-class leadership development identified by Professor Ivan Robertson and the SCS Leadership Model.

Robin Ryde of the National School said: “Each year government spends well over £40 million on developing its leaders, and departments have indicated to us that they would value advice and support in ensuring the quality of their in-house development activities and in benchmarking performance against one another. This practical and expert service is the National School’s response.”

Designed for SCS and feeder grade leadership development activities, the service includes diagnostic models – the self-assessment inventory and the maturity index – which identify both strengths and areas for improvement.

On completion, the activity is given a star rating from one to four which is valid for three years, with results published on the National School website.

The LAB launch event saw the Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (BERR) – which piloted the service on its new leaders’ programme – awarded a 3-star rating, indicating that its practice is ‘advanced: exceeds minimum quality standards in most areas and may demonstrate exemplary standards in some’.

BERR was delighted with the outcome, with a spokesperson commenting: “The process was rigorous but also a very positive experience. And the benefits have been well worth the effort.

“We now have external accreditation that shows the value of our internal leadership programme so we can be confident that our new SCS are getting the best mix of departmental and corporate development.

“We found this a non-bureaucratic way to validate an existing intervention that we know works well. We’re pleased too that the benefits extend beyond the programme itself and that we’re been able to use the experience to add value to other areas of our learning and development.”

Incorporating ‘do-it-yourself’, supported diagnostic and full service options, LAB can be applied flexibly to reflect the nature, size and scope of the leadership development activity in question – agreed in consultation with client organisations.

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