Local government

Leadership and Management for the Public Sector

Scotland’s councils have, in recent years, witnessed enormous changes to the landscape in which they operate. Working in partnership with North and South Lanarkshire, Scotland’s largest local government authorities, GCU has developed a work-based education programme in Leadership and Management of Public Services.

The programme integrates knowledge and skills generated by an organisation’s own professionals with university-based theory and good practice in relation to leadership. Incorporating both formal learning and learning within the work-place, it embraces both the corporate needs of public service organisations and the learning needs of the individual professionals to Masters level.

The flexibility of the programme and broad coverage of management issues ensure that it can meet the needs for most public service organisations’ management development programmes. It can be delivered as a full MSc or via a Continuing Professional Development (CPD) route. The flexibility of the course means it can be provided on-site, on-campus or at a combination of locations.

GCU’s Leadership and Management of Public Services programme has been delivered to a number of councils. Over 230 North and South Lanarkshire managers have attended the programme with many opting to pursue the programme to MSc level.

Recognise experience

GCU supports Recognition of Prior Learning, which gives individuals the opportunity to gain recognition for their previous learning. This could include learning assessed and credit rated at another university, college or training provider. Importantly, it also includes learning gained through life or work experiences such as: work (paid or unpaid employment, job training, workshops); community, voluntary or leisure activities; family life (caring, domestic organisation); and key life experiences and events.

GCU is working with a range of employers who recognise that Recognition of Prior Learning is important, not just in supporting their employees to gain the necessary qualifications they might need to upskill or reskill, but about embedding processes and enabling people to think about what they have learnt and how to apply that to enable employers to target their training provision more effectively.

Increase in-house capabilities

One of the most important dimensions of learning at work is learning from other people. An innovative feature of this programme is that the university offers associate lectureships to appropriately qualified and experienced council staff to allow them to support student learning in the workplace.

This means senior managers within a council will gain additional expertise and experience and the council itself accumulates greater capacity in-house. This means a legacy not only of learning, but also of teaching which can subsequently be used across the whole organisation to develop staff for the future.