Legal Advice Sector LDP

Please note the Legal Advice Sector Leadership Development Programme has now come to a close and we are no longer taking bookings. As of this current moment, there are no plans run this programme again, unless suitable funding is found. If you would like to fund this programme again, please get in touch.

About the programme

Legal Advice Sector Leadership Development 2017-2018 Programme

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

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 to Attend

The most recent 12 month programme started in late May 2017, and was free to attend. The cost of attendees' accommodation and national travel was covered, so the only major investment was their time and commitment. Alumni from the first cohort also participated in events.

We have received excellent feedback from 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 take a lot of commitment to make the programme successful and I feel the consultants' 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.

A message from The Baring Foundation

The Baring Foundation and The JP Getty Jnr Charitable Trust jointly awarded Cass Centre for Charity Effectiveness a grant to design and deliver this bespoke Leadership Development Programme (LDP) to a total of 50-60 chief executives and senior leaders in the advice sector during this year-long programme. This followed 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.”

The Baring Foundation & JP Getty Jnr Charitable Trust

Overview Of The Programme

Designed For Your Sector

The content of the programme was 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, 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 delivered three core things for attendees, for their 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 attendees out of the pressures of the workplace and immerse them in new ideas and experiences to stretch their 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 and 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 between geographical spread, organisation sector type, and diversity of participant

Our selection criteria 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 (and 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

Our selection criteria 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.

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

Applications are now closed for the Second Cohort of our Legal Advice Leadership Development Programme. If you are interested in the programme or would like to find out more please contact us.

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
  • Matthew Howgate – Formerly Senior Legal Adviser and Head of Continuous Improvement, Legal Services Commission
  • Rebecca Greenhalgh - Senior Associate, Pro Bono at Ashurst
  • Rowena Teall, Programmes Officer, The Barings Foundation
  • David Sampson, Deputy Director, The Barings Foundation
  • Liz Rantzen – Former Director, JP Getty Jnr. Charitable Trust