Faculty & Research

Legal Advice Leadership Development Programme

Legal Advice Sector Leadership Development Programme - 2nd Cohort

Funded by The Baring Foundation and J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust

2017-2018 Programme

We are excited to announce the start of recruitment of a Second Cohort for our leadership development programme designed specifically for senior leaders in the advice sector. The programme not only seeks to nurture individual leadership talent, but also wishes to equip leaders with the expertise to develop innovative, sustainable organisations, and to be a catalyst for positive change across the wider sector.

The approach of this programme reflects funders’ exceptional regard for the commitment and achievements of the sector, and their desire to support the sector to realign and achieve continuity, consistency and clarity following the disruption of unprecedented funding cuts in recent years.

Targeted for Maximum Impact

Because this programme seeks to be a catalyst for positive change in organisations and across the sector as a whole, it has been specifically designed for those who are at the top of their organisations with the greatest influence:

  • For chief executives (i.e. the most senior employees who are directly accountable to their boards), and senior leaders (i.e. those who report to chief executives) who manage teams of staff.
  • Who work in voluntary sector organisations that can demonstrate a history & commitment to the provision of independent advice on social welfare law, and that employ a lawyer or someone undertaking complex legal case work.
  • From a range of lived experiences and backgrounds, from a broad range of types and sizes of organisation across England & Wales.

Free For You To Attend

This 12 month programme starts late May 2017 and is free to attend, with the cost of your accommodation and national travel covered too, so the only major investment is your time and commitment. It starts in late May 2017, and is limited to 25-30 places this year. Alumni from the first Cohort will participate in events too.

We have received excellent feedback from previous attendees on our leadership development programmes:

Great opportunity to share with other leaders and learn from expert consultants to help our sector

I cannot begin to tell you how important it has been for me to be able to step out of my organisation, to learn in a safe environment, to reflect, think, plan and change. Every time I come to an event I feel I leave a better leader than the last time

It takes a lot of commitment to make the programme successful and I feel the consultant's enthusiasm and genuine interest in our growth is outstanding

The Core Elements of The Programme

Three Residential Events for the Whole Cohort

  • Programme of high level taught elective topics
  • A series of simulations, future scenario forecasting, and open space activities

Three Network Events

  • Action learning – to tackle pressing organisational issues
  • Road Trips – learn from other participants’ organisations
  • Guest Speakers – to stimulate you and build your network

Personal Development Opportunities

  • Executive Coaching, 360 degree feedback, personal development planning, and follow-up coaching – to plan your learning and evaluate the programme
  • Mentoring and shadowing opportunities

A Closing Booster Event to mark the learning and evaluate the impact of the programme.

Key dates for your diary:

22 & 23 May 2017

Residential Launch Event

Hosted outside London (Manchester - Chancellors Hotel)

w/c 19 June 2017

Executive Coaching and 360 degree feedback

Hosted in your region

17 July 2017

First Action Learning Group

Hosted by participants in their regions

From early September 2017

Launch of Mentoring and Shadowing opportunities

Times and venues will vary

27 & 28 September 2017

Second Residential Event

Hosted outside of London (Location TBC)

       w/c 9 October 2017

Follow-up coaching sessions

15 November 2017

Second Action Learning Group

Hosted by participants in their regions

24 & 25 January 2018

Third Residential Event

Hosted by Cass CCE in London

26  February 2018

Third Action Learning Group

Hosted by participants in their regions

w/c 12 March 2018

Coaching Review Sessions

26 April 2018

Closing Booster Day Event

Hosted by Cass CCE in London

Message from The Baring Foundation

The Baring Foundation and The JP Getty jnr Charitable Trust have jointly awarded The Cass Centre for Charity Effectiveness a grant to design and deliver this bespoke leadership development programme (LDP) for a total of 50-60 chief executives and senior leaders in the Advice Sector, over two cohorts of a year-long programme. This follows our scoping research into a LDP for the sector 18 months ago, which was also funded by The Baring Foundation.

“The Baring Foundation is an independent foundation working to improve the quality of life of people experiencing disadvantage and discrimination.  It aims to achieve this through making grants to voluntary and other civil society organisations and by adding value including through promoting knowledge and influencing others.

The Baring Foundation has had a long term interest in the advice sector. Advice agencies help people to secure their rights and entitlements, to resolve disputes and to hold the powerful to account.  They offer skilled support in times of the most extreme difficulty and anxiety. Although this has been an exceptionally challenging time for the advice sector, there has also been incredible resilience from those working within it and great examples of innovation. The sector is  filled with talented, passionate and committed staff who believe strongly in the value of advice. This leadership development programme will provide ongoing professional development to chief executives and senior leaders in the advice sector which recognises and aims to support and further develop their considerable talent, achievements and successes.”

Overview Of The Programme

Designed For Your Sector

The content of the programme has been refined and enhanced, building on the highly positive evaluation of Cohort 1. It is based on our scoping research into the leadership needs of the sector. It builds on the learning gained from work with Cohort 1 of the programme, and is guided by an Advisory Group made up of a mix of practitioners, advisers and other experts from the advice sector.

What It Must Achieve

We believe that this programme should give you three core things for yourselves, for your organisations and for the sector:

  • The key qualities and competencies of resilient leaders in the sector
  • Expertise to develop innovative, sustainable organisations
  • A collaborative and externally-facing mind-set making links across the sector, sharply focused on the needs of your beneficiaries.

What You Can Expect

This is a whole-sector programme, harnessing the power of learning together, celebrating the leadership expertise that you already have, and establishing a common language of leadership for your sector. The programme comprises many different and rich learning opportunities to take you out of the pressures of the workplace and immerse you in new ideas and experiences to stretch your leadership thinking:

  • A stimulating elective programme of high level taught topics for you to choose from to target your learning
  • Simulations to map, understand and analyse the dynamics across the whole of your network
  • Learning environments in which you can experiment safely with new approaches, relationships and partnerships
  • Formats that encourage new thinking and different conversations (including ‘world cafes’, action learning sets, think-tanks)
  • Inspirational speakers to spark your sense of resourcefulness, gain access to other networks and stakeholders, and explore how other sectors have resolved similar challenges
  • A supportive peer network that starts to build a self-sustaining ‘movement for leadership’ in your sector which  can also include members of Cohort 1 of the programme

Download a document explaining the Leadership Qualities, Competencies to be developed on the Programme.

Download an outline of the Leadership Development Framework that we use when designing leadership programmes.

Selection Criteria - for You and Your Organisation

We want this leadership development programme to achieve maximum impact for individuals, their organisations, and the sector as a whole. So it is targeted at people in specific very senior roles in advice agencies who are supported by their organisations to participate fully in the programme, and who are committed to the wider legal advice sector.

The Target Audience

This leadership development programme is aimed at:

Very senior leaders (who report to a board, or to someone who does), who can free up the space for themselves to participate effectively, are able to have maximum impact for change in their organisation, and can be a catalyst for change across the advice sector.

These leaders will work in voluntary sector organisations that can demonstrate a history & commitment to the provision of independent advice on social welfare law, and employ a lawyer/someone qualified to do legal case work.

Overall for this first programme, we are seeking as good a mix of applicants from across the sector as we can achieve.  We will try to get balance:

  • A good geographic spread matched with where SWLAS organisations are:
  • Types of organisation (to reflect the range of sector types)
  • Diversity of participants (lived experience etc.)

Our selection criteria for the programme are:

For the employing organisation:

  • Has sound governance and a strategic plan, with a client focus
  • Is clear about the benefits to the individual, their organisation, and the wider sector; keen to collaborate; keen to change and improve the quality of advice and the sustainability of the sector
  • Is clear about what they can offer the programme (hosting, shadowing etc.)
  • Is able to see the programme as a 3 year investment in development (& will help the participant create the space to learn, shape a 3 year development approach, and integrate their learning into the workplace)
  • We can only accept one applicant per organisation

For the individual:

  • Has a track record of leadership, understands what this means; they have thought the requirements of the programme and can see how their experience (in every sense) readies them to take advantage of it
  • Has experience of other leadership training (both formal and informal), has put this into practice and learnt about how to apply learning
  • Can demonstrate fit with the leadership qualities that underpin the programme and understands their development needs in relation to these
  • Is able to create change across their organisation, and across the wider sector; they have a strong value base and commitment to the sector
  • Understands the implications of being on this kind of programme and can create the space
  • Can succinctly capture and convince about their rationale for attending the programme and their aspirations


What costs are involved in attending the programme?

Funders have taken the exceptional step of covering the  cost of participants’ places on this programme, so there is no charge to you. Funders will be covering your major travel and accommodation expenses too. You’ll need to cover the cost of more local travel – for example to regional events, or from the nearest mainline stations to venues where the residential events are being held – and you’ll need to cover the cost of your meals en route and of some evening meals if these aren’t provided by the venue. Your biggest investment is your time participating in the programme.

Can I apply even if I don’t line manage other people?

The programme is aimed at leaders who are at the top of their organisation or top of a team within a larger organisation, and who lead others.  If you have people whom you lead, the programme is for you.  If not, then it’s not for you.  Much of the learning will involve sharing experiences of leading people and being able to integrate this learning into your practice back at work.

What if my employer can’t commit to supporting me?

Your ability to be successful in applying your learning as a result of attending the programme is directly related to your employer’s willingness to support you.  If you don’t have the space and support, you are going to find implementation very challenging.  We’re committed to ensuring successful change back at the workplace and indeed more widely across the sector, and see employer support as integral to this.  If you think they need persuading, you could call on one of our AG to help you. Message Sarah.Floyd@city.ac.uk who can connect you up to the relevant person.

I don’t work in an organisation that employs a solicitor, can I still apply?

If your organisation does not employ a solicitor or barrister, it needs to be able to demonstrate that it employs someone else undertaking complex legal casework and representation.  For example, this might be someone working as an OISC accredited caseworker at Level 3; a welfare benefits specialist undertaking advocacy at Tribunals, or an employment caseworker dealing with discrimination cases.  For debt work, applications for Debt Relief Orders and Bankruptcy would also be considered as relevant work.  If you are in doubt, please seek guidance as we will consider cases on individual merit.

I can’t make all of the programme dates, is it worth me still applying now?

There are limited places on the programme and if you can’t make all of the dates you would be taking the place of someone who is equally qualified, and who can make the dates, so it wouldn’t be fair on them. So if you are unable to attend any of the events due to general commitments (such as pre-booked holidays), we would ask you to apply for the second cohort instead. Send us your details and we can notify you as soon as the dates have been set for next year.  We can make exceptions where there are serious reasons for your not being able to attend (such as faith commitments or health reasons) - do please discuss these with us beforehand so we can accommodate your needs.

Is this programme accredited / does it count towards CPD?

It’s not accredited, but it certainly does count towards CPD

Is the programme open to organisations in Scotland?

Unfortunately this programme is only open to those in England and Wales.

What if I’m not successful?

You’ll get some great feedback from us, with some pointers about what you could do to improve.  Act on the feedback!

What do I need to do to prepare in case I’m accepted on the programme?

Read our materials on the website; start to think about time management; do some advance planning of your workload especially around the key dates in the programme timeline; factor in study time; read as many sector journals, blogs and tweets as you get to get up to speed with the issues facing leaders in your sector.

Application and Selection Process

This is a carefully targeted leadership development programme so please be clear that you meet the selection criteria outlined in the previous section before you think about applying: your organisation has to qualify as well as you the individual. Deadline for applications is 13 April 2017.

Candidates will be shortlisted from their written applications by a panel of the Advisory Group, based on the selection criteria. Where there is tight competition for places you may be asked to take part in a short telephone or Skype interview.

All candidates will be notified of the panel’s decisions by 21 April 2017 and there will be an opportunity for everyone who put themselves forward to receive feedback about their applications, whether successful or not. If you weren’t successful this time you’ll be given reasons for the decision.

As part of our commitment to diversity on our programmes we have also included  confidential and voluntary Equalities Form which we would appreciate your completing and returning with your application so that we can monitor the fairness and impact of our selection processes. Your form will be kept entirely separately from your application and will not be used for selection decisions.

Our Expectations Of You As A Participant

Your programme funders have taken the exceptional step of covering the  cost of participants’ places on this programme, and of covering your major travel and accommodation expenses too, in recognition of the severe financial pressures on the Advice Sector.

This programme is ambitious and unusual in that it isn’t only seeking to develop individuals, but it is also wanting to have a bigger impact on organisations, and to support and reinforce the sector.

This is such a rare and remarkable resource that we are committed to allocating places carefully, and we’ll need you to make the very most of the programme as a participant – for yourself, for your organisation, and for the sector.  We’ll expect you to attend every event in the programme in full, and to engage and contribute so as to give the programme every opportunity of succeeding.

To keep costs down we’ll need you to book national train tickets and accommodation well in advance to secure the maximum discounts available. You’ll need to cover the cost of more local travel – for example to regional events, or from the nearest mainline stations to venues where the residential events are being held – and you’ll need to cover the cost of your meals en route and of some evening meals if these aren’t provided by the venue.

We are really keen to ensure that it fits the needs of the sector, and to capture the wider learning for future leadership programmes. So we’ll be counting on your input during our event evaluations, and counting on your time with further research interviews and questionnaires at the end of the programme to assess its impact.

Most importantly, we hope that you’ll hugely enjoy the programme, that you’ll find it stretching and stimulating, and that you’ll be excited to join a growing alumni of participants from our many leadership programmes.

Advisory Group

We are indebted to our programme Advisory Group - a robust mix of practitioners, advisors and other experts drawn from the sector, chaired by Ruth Hayes, director of Islington Law Centre, who has been appointed by The Baring Foundation to recruit and oversee the Group.

The AG is there to strengthen the programme by guiding Cass CCE on the shape and approach, and keeping it firmly grounded in the needs and practicalities of the Advice Sector. AG members will participate at key stages of the programme where we look at the sector as a whole and map roles and relationships within it.

The Advisory Group has been key in supporting us to define the target audiences and organisations who will most benefit from the programme, to specify the selection criteria, to plan the programme promotion, to explore recruitment approaches and advise on selection criteria, and will support us in the development of an evaluation framework.

The Advisory Group will have a central role in the final selection of participants, mindful of the range and geographical spread of organisations, and range of advice areas to be represented.

Advisory Group Members

Ruth Hayes (chair) – director, Islington Law Centre

Julie Bishop – director, Law Centres Network

Claire Blades - legal Services Policy & Development Manager, Citizens Advice

Lindsay Poole – director, Advice Services Alliance

Chilli Reid - head of development & policy, Advice UK

Sue Bent – director, Central England Law Centre

Denise McDowell – director, Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit

David Gilmore – director, DG Legal

Rebecca Greenhalgh - senior associate, Pro Bono at Ashurst

Sarah Cooke - stvs consultant, The Baring Foundation

Liz Rantzen – former director, JP Getty jnr Charitable Trust

If you would like an informal discussion with one of the Advisory Group members about your application or eligibility please message Sarah.Floyd@city.ac.uk who can connect you up to the relevant person.