Collective leadership

The Collective Leadership programme aims to transform leadership relationships across and beyond the Civil Service

The Collective Leadership programme aims to transform leadership relationships across and beyond the Civil Service by connecting communities, amplifying their action and voice. We convene a number of leadership fora so that they commit to different ways of operating, focusing on collaboration and innovation, reflecting on what they need to do differently, including:

  • Civil Service Leadership Group / Heads of Department
  • Public Service Leaders Group
  • SCS2/Directors’ Network and programme of events

Civil Service Leadership Group and Heads of Department

The Civil Service Leadership Group (CSLG) is made up of approximately 200 senior leaders across government, consisting of Permanent Secretaries and equivalents and Directors General from across the Civil Service.

Heads of Department (HoD) meetings are attended by the head of each of the ministerial departments including the devolved governments and provides strategic oversight of the Civil Service.

If you are new, recently promoted or interim Director-General and are not receiving notifications about the CSLG events please contact:

Public Service Leaders Group

The Public Service Leaders Group (PSLG) is made up of approximately 300 Chief Executives and equivalents from across the UK’s public service including members of CSLG. PSLG launched in October 2019 as a citizen focused fora for a wide range of leaders to address issues of UK-wide strategic importance. This group meets as a collective with each intervention including a provocation from subject matter experts drawn from the private sector and civil society.

If you are a Chief Executive or equivalent from across the UK’s public services and not receiving notifications about these events please contact:

Directors’ Network and programme of events

Directors have a huge part to play in creating the Civil Service of the future. This is all the more important as we face times of unprecedented challenge.

The Collective Leadership offer for Directors in 2020-21 includes:

  • Interventions that focus on specific UK challenges and commitments, supporting some of the big issues, including climate action
  • Building stronger links between all senior leadership communities to create a shared context and embed systems leadership capabilities;
  • Extending the work of the cross-government Directors’ Network so that our Collective Leadership offers are more visible to Directors across all departments and locations; with a stronger focus on place, to grow leadership communities and focussing activities in places around the UK

The self-governing Directors’ Network, with active support by the Collective Leadership programme, develops bespoke ‘by-Directors-for-Directors’ events. The network convenes events that cultivate a learning culture, identifying a safe, open place where Directors can: share, reflect, build networks beyond their departments’ silos and harness their collective experience

Director conversations hosted by a senior leader

The Director conversations are small group events hosted by a senior leader, to support Directors to extend their network and make connections across departmental structures to enable them to work together to tackle strategic problems that need a collective response. The conversations include a broad focus on themes identified by our cross-government Directors’ Network:

  • Creating Brilliant teams that work across boundaries
  • Inclusive leadership
  • Creating the space for others to step up and into
  • Working collectively in an uncertain world

For more information on the Director’s events please see the schedule below or contact:

Building Leadership Communities - mapping the arc of offers and activities

The Collective Leadership programme is part of the arc of support to the Senior Civil Service leadership community that includes: The National Leadership Centre specifically designed to support CEO-level leaders across public service (which includes Civil Service Director Generals and Permanent Secretaries). It facilitates and supports leaders to collaborate on the toughest challenges the country faces, as well as offering a specific programme for a selected cohort each year and a range of events throughout the year.

The CS Leadership Academy supports leaders to be truly effective in the unique context of government.

Civil Service Talent works to ensure that the Civil Service attracts, develops and retains talented people from a diverse range of backgrounds, to create a brilliant Civil Service now and for the future.

Organisational Development, Design & Learning provide access to expert consultancy, direct support on transformation, cross-system work and coaching.

‘Beyond Whitehall’ a Civil Service wide project about improving our understanding of communities and economies across the country to make and deliver policy more effectively

And other partners that we work with include Whitehall in Industry Group, NHS Academy, Workforce Scotland, Academi Wales and Local Government Authorities.

Collective Leadership programme opportunities

Date Event
  Bi-Weekly - ‘Your Agenda, Your Conversations’ Director-led(Designed by-Directors-for-Directors)
15 & 16 July Civil Service Live ‘Unpacking the Invisible: Power, Privilege, and Difference’ (Designed by-Directors-for-Directors)
10 September Civil Service Leadership Group: Civil Service Reform

If you are a Senior Civil Service leader and are not receiving notifications about any of the above events please email: Collective Leadership Team

Please note: the Collective Leadership work will become part of the new Leadership College for Government in April. Read more here:

Published 27 September 2017
Last updated 7 September 2020 + show all updates
  1. Removed event: 15 October Public Service Leaders Group: ‘Climate: Achieving More Together’

  2. 14 May & 28 May ‘Your Agenda, Your Conversations’ Director-led (Designed by-Directors-for-Directors) events removed.

  3. Removed paragraph "Permanent Secretary breakfasts for directors"

  4. Updated with how CSLA are engaging with senior leadership communities; who we are engaging with and an events calendar has been added

  5. Video snapshot of 'Reimagining public services unconference' added.

  6. Change to event

  7. First published.