Public Services Leadership Taskforce publishes report on Better Public Services
In the 2017 Budget, the Chancellor of the Exchequer announced that government would set up a Public Services Leadership Taskforce to explore what a new public body might offer leaders so they can be as effective as possible in the complex and challenging environment in which they operate. The Taskforce has recently published its findings in the form of the Better Public Services Report, in which the PSTA is featured as a case study.
The Taskforce identified three themes that repeatedly emerged from their discussions:
- The most difficult challenges faced by public services are complex and cross-cutting, so more effective collaboration between them is a source of considerable public value.
- Some senior leaders feel very exposed by their new responsibilities, and are not sure where to turn for support. The right cross-service programme could give these leaders the skills, knowledge and behaviours they need to fulfil their potential.
- Networks between leaders are underdeveloped and there is demand for a mechanism for public services leaders to support each other, share practice and learn from experience.
The report recommends the creation of a Centre for Public Services Leadership, which would consist of “a new programme and professional network for the emerging top leaders of public services.”
The programme would be a collaborative leadership offer for emerging top leaders – people within two years of potentially taking on principal executive responsibility in an organisation. The programme would involve context-led experiential training and opportunities to develop their leadership skills, knowledge and behaviours. We recognise that it will take considerable user research to achieve the right programme, but the following themes illustrate the opportunities here:
- understanding how services impact users and their communities (including other services)
- better fluency in the relationships between leadership, innovation, technology and productivity
- cross-services leadership
A digitally-enabled professional network would offer delegates access to practice-sharing opportunities, pooled understanding of new technologies and other innovations and the personal support they need to handle tough environments. They could also source mentoring from suitable and experienced senior leaders.
PSTA’s own Benjamin Taylor says:
“We’re super pleased to be featured as a case study in this report, and we believe we are already a model of what the Centre is setting out to achieve. As such we’re delighted to see these findings, which vindicate the PSTA’s approach to service transformation, and we hope to be in the running to support delivery of the Centre’s core mission.”