The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) has welcomed publication of a report by the influential Public Administration Select Committee which shines a light on the critical need to improve management and leadership skills required to deliver the Government’s Big Society agenda.

However, with confusion still surrounding plans for management and leadership development, CMI has warned that skills shortages risk jeopardising public service reform.

With the report outlining concerns that civil service will be unable to manage change effectively, CMI has also backed the Committee’s call for the Government to set out its plans for retaining and developing change leadership skills.

Petra Wilton, CMI Director of Policy and Research said: “The Government is committed to major changes in public services, but without an urgent focus on management and leadership skills there is a real risk of failure. CMI’s own research with Warwick Business School has shown that the skills needed for partnership working are seen by managers as a critical area for development. Without them, ambitious aims to decentralise public services and build the Big Society will be jeopardised.
With the National School of Government set for closure, the future for developing management skills is unclear”

Wilton adds: “It is right for the new Civil Service Learning programme to be based on a common curriculum, reflecting shared priorities across government. Rather than developing managers from different parts of government in separate silos, the curriculum should be based on recognised national professional standards and accredited frameworks to provide more consistency in the skills learned. Breaking down these silos will take high-level leadership, so we would like to see Francis Maude champion the process in order to give it real momentum.”