Headlines: January 7th, 2004

Brent Council is using a ground-breaking training course that will see a hundred of its senior managers given leadership skills designed to help them deliver services worthy of a top CPA rating. The council commissioned the Office for Public Management to provide a ‘Leadership for Excellence’ training, which is believed to be the first of its kind in the public sector.The six-month programme has been developed to set the benchmark for top management development in local government. Senior staff will undertake a range of modules designed to build a common culture and shared sense of direction. One key objective will be to help the council achieve an ‘excellent’ rating in The Audit Commission’s assessment of the borough’s performance.

Brent’s Chief Executive, Gareth Daniel, says the programme is the most significant piece of management development in the council in the last decade and underlines the key role of council managers in building excellent services. The programme looks at performance management issues and equips senior staff with the skills to provide leadership, not just inside the council, but also in work with partners and local communities.

The first 50 candidates, who have been drawn from across every council service area, have already begun their training and an early highlight has been the use of Shakespeare’s ‘Julius Caesar’ to focus on the emotional and political skills that leaders need. The second group of 50 will begin the modular course in the spring.