UK public services suffering from lack of leadership development

2002

- More than seven in ten chief executives argue that the government should provide funding to support leadership and professional development in the voluntary sector.

- Nine in ten say that there should be more leadership development in the voluntary sector.

- Sixty-three per cent of voluntary organisations haven't provided any leadership initiatives.

The government should invest in the professional development of voluntary sector chief executives or risk damaging the UK's public services, warns research published on 25 February by The Industrial Society's Campaign for Leadership (CFL) and the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations (ACEVO).

The survey kicks off CFL's week long focus on leadership in the UK. It captures the views of 236 voluntary sector chief executives and reveals that almost nine in ten (88 per cent) believe that there is a need for more leadership development in the voluntary sector. And more than seven in ten (71.6 per cent) argue that the government should provide the funding needed.

Stephen Bubb, chief executive of ACEVO, says: “The UK relies on the third sector to provide a large percentage of its public services; of the one million social carers in the UK, 600,000 work in the voluntary sector. But unless the government provides the adequate funds, chief executives will continue to fail to receive the support that they need to develop their own skills and their organisations - and this could threaten the UK's public services.”

Three-quarters of those surveyed (77.6 per cent) also claim that it is important for specific leadership training to be available to voluntary sector leaders. But the research - Leadership Matters - shows that almost two-thirds (63 per cent) of voluntary sector organisations haven't provided any leadership initiatives and the median amount spent on training and development is only £600 per year.

Ian Lawson, chief executive of The Campaign for Leadership, says: “The third sector is not only a very significant employer in its own right, but also focuses on activities vital to a caring and civilised society. For any organisation to thrive, good leadership is essential. The difficulties with funding and the particular issues of harnessing volunteer involvement mean that the voluntary sector needs support from government and businesses now, more than ever before.”

Bryan Dutton, director general of Leonard Cheshire, adds: “The current situation of local authorities outsourcing public services but not the training budget isn't sustainable. All organisations - regardless of sector - must receive equal treatment for the public services they provide on behalf of government. Without this funding, services will either deteriorate due to insufficient training or voluntary organisations will be forced to draw upon their limited voluntary resources to fund this process. This is not in the spirit of either a "level playing-field" or the policy of "best value".”

Ian Lawson, chief executive of The Campaign for Leadership, and Stephen Bubb, chief executive of ACEVO, are available for interview

The Campaign for Leadership (CFL) is part of The Industrial Society, the UK's leading thinker and adviser on the world of work. Under the leadership of Will Hutton, The Society has identified a growing demand for better corporate governance; for business policy to be more socially and environmentally responsible; for support of ethical and more concerns and for workers to have the right to demand responsible employers. The CFL is a direct response by The Society to help develop such leaders.

ACEVO campaigns to increase the effectiveness of the voluntary sector through the support and development of voluntary sector chief executives and promotes higher standards of executive leadership through mutual support, sharing of expertise, training and publications.

Leadership Week commenced on Monday 25 February. More information on Leadership Week can be found on The Industrial Society website at www.indsoc.co.uk

Leadership Matters was published on 25 February at Voluntary sector Leadership Day launch. The CFL and ACEVO, in association with Lloyds TSB, also announced details of a bursary awards scheme - part of The CFL commitment to working with the voluntary sector.

For further information or for a press copy of the report, please contact:
Rob Cope or Nicola Dodd at Colman Getty PR
Tel: 020-7631 2666 email: [email protected]