New free leadership development programme launched – apply now


Applications are still open for our new free leadership development programme designed specifically for senior leaders in the advice sector. We are hugely excited about it here at Cass Centre for Charity Effectiveness (Cass CCE) because we want this programme to do more than just produce talented individual leaders. The programme has been devised to have greater reach than that, equipping participants with the specific key qualities and competencies identified for resilient leaders in the sector; with the expertise to develop innovative, sustainable organisations; and with a collaborative and externally-facing mind-set that enables leaders to make links across the Sector, sharply focused on the needs of your beneficiaries.

Because this programme must be a catalyst for positive change across the wider advice sector, it has been specifically designed for those with the greatest influence – people at the top of their organisations in chief executive and senior leader positions – who are actively supported by their organisations to participate fully in the programme. These leaders will be drawn from a broad range of voluntary sector organisations across England & Wales that can demonstrate a history & commitment to the provision of independent advice on social welfare law, and that employ a lawyer or someone qualified to do legal case work.

Thanks to the exceptional support of funders, this nine-month programme is entirely free to attend, and the cost of accommodation and national travel is covered too, so the only major investment is your time and commitment. The programme – funded by The Baring Foundation and The J Paul Getty Jnr Charitable Trust – launches on June 27/ 28 in London and is limited to 25-30 places this year. A second cohort of the programme will run next year, and alumni of the first cohort will be able to participate in many of next year’s events too.

A deep commitment to the advice sector
The programme came about because funders were deeply concerned about the disruption caused to the advice sector by unprecedented levels of funding cuts in recent years. They wanted to support the sector to realign and to achieve greater continuity, consistency and clarity. With this in mind, 18 months ago, the Baring Foundation commissioned us to scope the possibility of a bespoke programme for the sector.

When we started out on our research we were very much focused on wanting to understand the full impact of the funding cuts on organisations, but we quickly came to discover that there are resilient leaders and exceptional organisations in the sector, that are managing to adjust despite the pressures. We wanted to capture the key qualities of these individuals, and to understand the strategies of these charities, and to design an appreciative programme that would share the resourcefulness and expertise already in the sector, and celebrate everyone’s passionate commitment to using the law to help people, and harnessing the power of learning together.

Connecting with the wider nonprofit sector
At the same time the programme builds on the learning and resources of the many other leadership programmes that we deliver to the wider nonprofit sector. At Cass CCE we host five part-time MSc programmes in voluntary sector management, design bespoke leadership programmes (eg. for students’ unions and the Scout Association), and run open access courses such as our intensive training for new and aspiring chief executives, and our outstanding leadership and building better governance seminars.

To help us to blend the findings from our existing programmes with the new features identified from the scoping research, we are being guided by an advisory group made up of a mix of practitioners, advisers and other experts from the advice sector. Many of the advisory group members were influential in our original scoping research, and have been pivotal in the design of the recruitment and selection process. They will also be present at key stages of the programme to make links and connections across the Sector, and they will play a crucial role in helping us to review the impact of the Programme.

The core elements of the programme
The programme hopes to provide many different and rich learning opportunities to take you out of the pressures of your workplace and immerse you in new ideas and experiences to stretch your leadership thinking:

  • 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 regional network day events:
  • Action learning: tackle pressing organisational issues
  • Road Trips: to learn from other participants’ organisations
  • Think Tanks: to understand and tackle tough regional matters
  • 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
  • Access to many of year 2’s programme of electives and regional events

We very much hope you will join us. Be sure to submit your application by 16th May at the very latest to be considered. For an overview of the Programme, and everything you need to know about the application process please visit our website.

Key programme dates for your diary


27th & 28th June 2016 Launch Event (with Residential Option)

Hosted in London at Cass CCE


1 hour during the final 2 weeks of July 2016 Executive Coaching and 360 degree feedback

Hosted in your region


26 July 2016 First Regional Network Event

Hosted by participants in their regions


From early September 2016 Launch of Mentoring and Shadowing opportunities

Times and venues will vary


13 & 14 September 2016 Second Residential Event for the Whole Cohort

Hosted outside of London


2 November 2016 Second Regional Network Event

Hosted by participants in their regions


8 & 9 December 2016 Third Residential Event for the Whole Cohort

Hosted near Birmingham (TBC)


19 January 2017 Third Regional Network Event

Hosted by participants in their regions


1 hour in mid February 2017 Individual coaching review by telephone


23 March 2017 Closing Booster Day Event

Hosted in London at Cass CCE


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