Public services are no longer provided by simple organisations that can deliver at the press of a button, and service improvement can no longer be achieved by compliance with a set of rules, however skillfully devised.

What we need is a much more sophisticated approach which recognises the complex times we are living in where demand for services is up and tolerance of failure is down. Increasingly, there are multiple sources of authority for the delivery of public services and those in leadership positions are increasingly working in a context of ever growing complexity and ambiguity.

To become an effective Systems Leader is not something that can be achieved by following a rulebook for leadership, but is rather an approach through shared values and intentions, that the research suggests is a mindset or a way of thinking about and approaching the leadership role, rather than a set of technical skills or competencies.

This new approach to leadership has found real resonance with the agencies responsible for delivering leadership development to the most senior leaders in our councils. So much so, that this new programme ‘Leadership for Change’ offers senior leaders the opportunity to develop a whole range of skills that will help them through the often complex leadership challenges that they face.