This new Programme has been designed for those who are already experienced at senior operational level, and who are now looking to progress to strategic Director level roles across public services. Linking with other national initiatives, the Future Directors Programme is underpinned by systems leadership approaches and will bring together people at Assistant Director or equivalent level from across the broadest range of services, to develop their knowledge, skills and experience so that they can step up to Director level roles with confidence in their leadership abilities.

The programme supports participants’ development as influential leaders who can inspire outstanding service delivery. The aim of the programme is to develop the level of knowledge, capability and experience within senior leadership teams, supporting Sector Led improvement (SLI), and creating a pool of potential future candidates for the role of DCS or chief officer with responsibility for children’s services.

The programme is initially a collaboration between the Virtual Staff College and Public Health England, with colleagues from National Skills Academy formally joining the alliance following the initial collaboration. 

The programme is intended for those who: 

  • Are potentially close to stepping up to a director-level role 
  • Expect to remain in the provision of public services for at least three years 
  • Are committed to deepening personal learning about leadership and making behavioural changes that impact positively on their respective community 
  • Will actively share learning from the programme with colleagues through their leadership approach. 

Programme participants will be highly committed, with the ability to dedicate the time to complete the programme in full, and will require sponsorship from their Director, their line manager or other appropriate senior colleague.

Those who feel they meet these criteria will be required to commit the time to complete the programme (10 days overall, over approximately 12 months) in full. Potential participants can find more information about the programme and the application process on the Leadership for Change Website:

The programme will not meet the requirements of everyone who aspires to hold a Director-level post in the public sector. It is not a pre-requisite for becoming a Director or Chief Officer nor is completing the programme a guarantee of appointment. This is an intensive 12 month programme and therefore it is critical that you consider fully whether this will best meet your professional development needs, before submitting an application.

Participants for the programme will be selected through a rigorous assessment process.

Application Guidance

A new guidance document can be downloaded below. It is recommended that potential applicants and sponsors read this in full, to understand the detailed requirements for assessment.