Civil Service Leadership Statement

Updated 25 August 2016

What is the Leadership Statement?

The 2014 Civil Service Reform Progress Report and Talent Action Plan committed us to developing a Leadership Statement that explicitly sets out the behaviour that is expected from all leaders across the Civil Service. It was envisaged that such a statement would articulate the difference that people wanted to see, providing the first step towards further cultural change.

We consulted civil servants across the country and produced a clear statement that reflects their comments about the positive attributes they want to see in their leaders and in their own approach to leadership.

Leadership: What it means to us

Leadership statement

This statement of intent takes as its starting point the responsibility of the Civil Service for the effective delivery of the government’s programme and ministers’ priorities, living its values and serving the public. It highlights the 3 key characteristics that civil servants have indicated they expect from their leaders, and that we expect Civil Service leaders to live up to. They are:

Inspiring – about our work and its future

  • We will show our pride in and passion for public service, communicating purpose and direction with clarity and enthusiasm
  • We will value and model professional excellence and expertise
  • We will reward innovation and initiative, ensuring we learn from what has not worked as well as what has

Confident – in our engagement

  • We will be straightforward, truthful and candid in our communications, surfacing tensions and resolving ambiguities
  • We will give clear, honest feedback, supporting our teams to succeed
  • We will be team players, and will not tolerate uncollaborative behaviour which protects silos and departmentalism

Empowering – our teams to deliver

  • We will give our teams the space and authority to deliver their clearly set objectives
  • We will be visible, approachable, and welcome challenge, however uncomfortable
  • We will champion both difference and external experience, recognising the value they bring
  • We will invest in the capabilities of our people, to be effective now and in the future

What the Leadership Statement means for civil servants

Whilst the publication of the statement represents an important milestone, what is more crucial is what is done with it to ensure it has the desired impact. In response to comments from the consultation exercise, a range of initiatives are being pursued to help civil servants develop into the leaders needed now and for the future.

What the Leadership Statement means for you and your team

Examples of good leadership

You told us that hearing from inspirational and recognised leaders was really useful to be able to learn and develop your own leadership capabilities. So, we have commissioned a range of successful leaders to share their experiences.

Improve your leadership behaviours

Further help and information

Contact the Collective Leadership Team

Civil Service Group
1 Horseguards Road,


Championing Difference