Office for National Statistics

Leadership Development Programme

Leadership Development Programme


In 2016, Eliesha Cymru was awarded a contract to support ONS in a number of strategic interventions regarding, for example, support for the Executive leadership, managers and aspiring managers.

ONS recognised that they needed to invest in their leadership capability to remain effective, to ensure a consistency of management quality, to identify and nurture their leaders and to enhance their capacity to navigate the uncertain challenges ahead.


In an ongoing collaborative and professional knowledge sharing dialogue, we evolved the discrete interventions to create a more coherent set of progressive and developmental leadership and management pathways, more directly relevant to the changing context of need for the Office for National Statistics (ONS).  

As no such pathways had been in existence prior to this, there was no foundation of shared management culture on which to build. As a result, we initially proposed a three-tier approach based on the levels of experience and professional trajectory of the learners – new and aspiring managers, experienced managers, executive leaders. Each pathway contained a shared set of core skills, together with basic management skills to create a common base of capability across the organisation, with increased skill levels through the seniority of the pathway.


By 2018, we had delivered over 100 sessions across the three pathways and achieved the overarching goal of increasing the base of core skills and management skills. We were then asked to redesign the pathways to create a graduated programme, with no repetition, but that incorporated the ONS People Strategy goals and the UK Civil Service Competencies.

We designed three pathways, each with a distinct focus:

  1. ‘me’ – topics include core skills such as Emotional Intelligence, Motivation, Wellbeing, and Influencing Skills
  2. ‘my team’ – topics include Understanding and Leading Teams, Coaching and Feedback, Managing Projects and Decision Making
  3. ‘my organisation’ – topics include The Trusted Leader, Strategic Thinking, Innovation and Challenge and Commercial Thinking. 

We created 23 separate modules and the associated materials and trainer guides to ensure consistency of delivery across the three ONS office sites.  

In early 2020 we successfully pivoted, responded to changing need and circumstance and re-designed all the modules to work in a virtual environment at short notice due to Covid-19. Over a 6-week period we worked collaboratively with colleagues at ONS to ensure that the materials not only worked online but were also sympathetic to their organisational technology and the technical competence of their staff.  

As part of our KPI’s, ONS set us a minimum quality target to be achieved, monitored by their own evaluation process. We have now delivered just over 450 sessions of the new pathways (face to face and virtually) and have a 100% success rate in achieving or exceeding our quality target – initially set at 75% approval across a series of criteria, currently standing at just under 85%. 

ONS have recently revised their 5-year business plan and so we are in the process of our continuing collaborative and professional dialogue reviewing the pathways in line with their new strategic objectives. We will also be focusing on increasing the level of line-manager interaction with the pathways, to build into the development plans of participants, and a set of improvement goals to be included, arising from their annual staff survey. 

At time of writing, we continue to work with ONS in a successful learning partnership, supporting a variety of learning and development objectives, including further leadership development. 

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