Research & Publications - 2013

PRESS NOTICE:  What public leaders can learn from the experience of LSIS

July 29 2013

PRESS NOTICE:  What public leaders can learn from the experience of LSIS

The Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) will close its doors on 31 July 2013, but important lessons it has learnt about leadership, management and governance should not be forgotten, according to a new report by the Public Chairs’ Forum (PCF).

Lessons for leadership – the experience of LSIS considers what the wider public sector can learn from the experiences of LSIS. Many of the challenges facing the Further Education (FE) sector reflect changes taking place across government; this report draws parallels between both and offers lessons for leadership that are of relevance to all public leaders today.

Key points from the report:

  • The traditional view of the ‘heroic’ leader has lost relevance for public sector leaders. Instead, leadership and governance should be more blended – with focus both on setting strategic direction and on empowering middle managers.
  • Cuts to public spending and changes in public policy mean that the skillset necessary for public sector leaders needs to be more geared towards entrepreneurialism, flexibility and creativity.
  • Good governance requires that board and their Chairs understand their role vis-à-vis the organisation’s Chief Executive – constructively challenging and ensuring the organisation has a clear strategy rather than only auditing or steering.
  • The LSIS dual governance model of a board to ensure ‘things are done right’ and a council to ensure ‘the right things are done’ has relevance to individual organisations and to sectors seeking to improve.

Speaking about the report, Chris Banks CBE, Chair of the PCF said:

“Our report builds on other reviews of LSIS’s legacy and offers some thought provoking lessons that really chime with the challenges that public leaders are facing at the moment. Some interesting themes have been identified that have important implications for chairs, chief executives and boards and the PCF will be working with chairs of public bodies to take these into account.”

Dame Ruth Silver, Chair of LSIS, said:

‘I am really pleased to see the publication by the Public Chairs’ Forum of this excellent report. It contains some important lessons about leadership, management and governance from LSIS and Further Education, which are highly relevant to the public sector. I hope it proves useful in what is a very challenging time for leaders.’

This report builds on The leadership legacy of LSIS: a reflection, which reflects on the demand for effective leadership across the further education and skills sector and the impact LSIS has had in creating a leadership cadre that meets this demand.

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