CMI tells Government: “Building Back Better is impossible without good management and leadership

14 October 2021

As a learning partner and Approved Centre delivering their widely respected qualifications, we closely monitor the rigorous research studies undertaken by the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and the recommendations and insight they routinely provide into management and leadership development and best practice.

In our broader learning partnerships with customers, we are keen to share the benefit of this knowledge. Hence, we think it important to share CMI’s official submission to the UK Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review. Their strategic position in support of industry is defense of “the development of the UK’s human capital, and management and leadership capabilities in particular” as “essential spending”. As this is important and relevant to the current talent management and workforce development decisions many organisations are currently making, we explore it below.

At the core of their message is the UK’s historically poor productivity in comparison with other highly developed economies. This can be attributed, partly but significantly, to a lack of management quality and a clear skills gap between the management skills required by employers and that which is available in the workforce.

A further insight is the perception that, broadly speaking and at least in the private sector, businesses do not spend money on management training without incentives. In support of demonstrating the benefits of management and leadership skills, they highlight recent ONS data indicating that firms with better management and management practices fared better during the disruption and uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic.

CMI’s recommendations are aimed to help address the management and leadership skills gap which will, in turn, support and help to drive the all of the Government’s contemporary growth agenda, namely; Net Zero, ‘Levelling Up’ all regions of the country, investing in infrastructure and, and in the aftermath of the pandemic, ‘Building Back Better’.

The main asks of the Government are for them to:

  • Ensure apprenticeships funding is protected
  • Guarantee current expenditure on higher education
  • Embed good management by: 
  1. Building management development into education, training and business innovation and sector policies in a systematic way
  2. 'Bolting on' a set of skills referred to as the 'Core Four' - communication, problem solving, team working and digital skills - to all Government training provision
  3. Establishing a requirement for Government procurement bids to demonstrate commitment to management and leadership development

The Government is referred to a number of benefits beyond those directly matching their growth priorities, including better scaling up of SMEs and start-ups, greater levels of private and public sector innovation, high levels of inclusivity and flexibility across the business landscape, better social mobility linked to the impact of good managers on development opportunities for low-skilled workers, and better prospects for students that enter the jobs market with management skills.

You can read the full 9-page recommendation here, including an impressive level of detail in support of the CMI’s suggestions and why they are likely to bring about the changes listed above, or you can read a one-page summary here. We hope you will find much of the insight of help to your own planning and investment in management and leadership.

The value of highly credible and capable organisations like the CMI, and their willingness to lobby the Government from a place of informed knowledge, experience and expertise, cannot be overstated. As a strategic learning partner with CMI for many years, we have championed the myriad benefits of targeted management and leadership training, arising from the drive for increased professional skills and evidenced in the delivery of highly effective development solutions. We are pleased to see our insight and planning thoughts from the challenges and successes of our public and private sector customers echoed in their formal submission and resonating on such a large scale. 

We are particularly pleased to see the CMI calling for a clear commitment to the future of the modern apprenticeship system and, importantly, the Management Apprenticeship Standards. Both the UK professional industry bodies, CMI and ILM were co-authors of these alongside sector groups and large employers like HMRC and Barclays.

In fact, if there was one ‘takeway’ for future planning that we would recommend, it is that you positively consider the role of management apprenticeships in your management and leadership planning. They represent an important and strategic component of an organisation’s workforce development plan. They provide a significant incentive, through Levy investment, towards upskilling to address the skills gap in management and leadership. They provide a highly affordable development path that is proven to deliver significant professional, personal and business benefits.

Our experience of delivering management development programmes to the Level 3 (Team Leader/Supervisor) and Level 5 (Operations/Departmental Manager) Standards – demonstrates that high quality programmes, with content that has organisational relevance, context and challenge, produces confident and capable managers and leaders. They are well-prepared to competently lead their organisation, coping with the uncertainty of the future and well able to contribute to bringing about all the positive changes that their business, UK Ltd and the CMI require.

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