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ADEPT Leadership Development Programme

Excellence in leadership is something ADEPT not only promotes and supports, but also benefits from.

As part of our commitment to maximising sustainable growth in communities throughout the UK, we launched a high level Leadership Development Programme for aspiring Directors of Place in late 2018. The programme is open to all local authority and combined authority members of ADEPT and has proved very popular.

Applications for the 2024 ADEPT/SOLACE Leadership Development Programme are now closed. If you would like to register your interest for the 2025 programme please email [email protected]

About the programme

ADEPT’s Leadership Development Programme is a unique opportunity for aspiring Directors of Place who want to move beyond their own specialisms to become future leaders.

The programme has been created for people currently in a Tier 3 or 4 senior leadership level, who are part of ADEPT member organisations.

Working with colleagues, place directors, course leaders and guest speakers, the programme will give you the opportunity to:

  • Use time away from demanding roles to reflect on yourself as a leader
  • Explore how to move from being a specialist/expert to a leader of place
  • Build on previous leadership and management training
  • Develop new skills, debate issues and explore challenges

Timings and modules

Cohort 12 will complete the programme on the following dates:

Launch event: 20th February 2024
Module 1: 20th/21st March 2024
Module 2: 1st/2nd May 2024
Module 3: 17th/18th July 2024
Module 4: 10th/11th September 2024

Cohort 13 will cover the following dates:

Launch event: 12th April 2024
Module 1: 8th/9th May 2024
Module 2: 15th/16th July 2024
Module 3: 12th/13th September 2024
Module 4: 6th/7th November 2024

The programme also includes attendance at the ADEPT Autumn Conference, which will take place in November 2024 - dates and venue to be confirmed.

The two-day workshops will cover:

  • Module 1 - Leadership and Change
  • Module 2 - Strategic Thinking
  • Module 3 - Working Collaboratively across Organisations
  • Module 4 - Coaching for High Performance

For further information, please click here or download an expression of interest form here

If you are interested and would like to speak to someone, please contact us.


"This programme has been exceptionally helpful in providing an opportunity to reflect on my strengths and weaknesses as a leader. In particular, it has helped me to focus on the differences between leadership and management, and what sort of leader I want to be. I highly recommend this programme."

Alan Casson, Kent County Council


"I would strongly recommend others within Place directorates attend The ADEPT Leadership Development programme. The course content, split across five sessions, is easily manageable in addition to the busy day job. SOLACE do a great job at delivering thought-provoking sessions that are well structured with a strong focus on engagement and debate. The attendees from other authorities are all like-minded people which makes the discussion “current” in terms of the issues we all face."

Jonathan Evans, Lincolnshire County Council


“I would recommend this programme wholeheartedly: it delivers a successful blend of leadership theory, group learning, and access to experienced practitioners, within the stimulating context of different host local authorities: all-in-all a very focussed and empowering experience, and with its specific focus on the leadership of Place, usefully and distinctly better than other general leadership courses in my experience.”


"Taking part in the ADEPT Leadership Development has been a fantastic opportunity for me, which I have been truly grateful of. From day 1, the cohort has taken on a collaborative working approach, and we have developed that into a strong network that will be of value to us all as a lasting legacy of the programme.

Alongside the valuable academic learning, being able to hear the experiences of Leaders throughout the sector and through the support and constructive challenge of peers in the cohort, I have been able to apply myself in a more considered and broader way to the Leadership challenges we face on a daily basis.

Thank you to ADEPT for such a valuable opportunity."

Jonathan Vining, Economic Growth Programme Manager, Staffordshire County Council


"Taking time out from the busy day job to focus on the development of leadership skills has been really welcomed and time well spent.  Additionally, the opportunity to develop a network of managers all of whom are dealing with similar issues and at similar stages in their careers has been invaluable.  I would highly recommend the programme to other senior managers and assistant directors that are aiming to be our strategic directors of the future."


"Thanks to the unwavering support and encouragement of Nottinghamshire County Council, I was beyond fortunate to have secured a place on the inaugural Leadership Development Programme. It came at the right time in my life, with two decades in management roles behind me, I was ready to improve my leadership skills.

The programme beginning with introspection, helped to fine-tune the skills needed to succeed in the reality of today’s complex Place-based world.  The remainder of the content was tailored to the specific needs of the 14-strong cohort. The variety of topics promoted wisdom and facilitated self-confidence. through the use of various techniques and examples to emphasise points. Networking with other political and non-political leaders to draw on their experiences, proved invaluable.

As a result, I am firmly positioned to help the council get to the next level.  I have a clear, sound vision of where I want to go and the type of transformational leader I want to be. My self-reflection and cross-council work have improved, and I am helping change my organisation from good to great. Perhaps the biggest transformation though, has been the ability to remove myself from the detail and take the balcony view. This conscious mind-shift and becoming a generalist, not a specialist, has opened up a whole new world of contacts - both within and outside my authority. I now sit on various influential strategic boards, support the running of the ADEPT East and West Midlands Place Directors Meeting and have taken on the role as Chair of ADEPT’s Digital Connectivity Working Group.

I have always had a solid sense of my core values and have remained an enthusiastic public servant.  However, this Programme has pushed me to practice a higher level of professionalism and focus on growing others as I model what leadership actually looks like on a daily basis."

Nicola McCoy-Brown, Growth and Economic Development, Nottinghamshire County Council


“The Aspiring Directors Programme has been a really positive and influential experience for me.   The course leader has been inspiring and informative with the modules providing a good balance between theory and practical application. It has provided a rare opportunity to discuss issues openly, honestly and safely without any prejudice.  A real strength has been the relationships and network built with the cohort of colleagues who have participated in the Programme.  The group has provided support and advice to each other and will undoubtedly provide an invaluable network of contacts for the rest of my career. 

I particularly found the sessions with Senior Leaders inspiring, informative and beneficial, a really valuable insight.

The course has completely surpassed my expectations, it has genuinely changed the way I approach my role and I believe will enable me to develop and progress to become a competent leader and realize my ambitions.”

Claire Brailsford, Interim Assistant Director of Environment, Derbyshire County Council


“It has been a privilege to be part of the first cohort of the ADEPT leadership development programme.  The programme has been so relevant to the ever-changing world of ‘Place’ and the increasing scale and complexity of Director roles in the public sector.  The content of the modules, reading material and prompts for further thought have very much chimed with the journey we are on organisationally, helping me grow in knowledge and leadership capability with direct application in the day job.  Andrew has carefully flexed the focus of each module to respond to the asks and interests of the group, and this has been supported by excellent guest speakers.  Building a network with colleagues from across the country has been invaluable and I’m sure will continue to reap its rewards long after we reach the end of the course.  I’m really grateful to those who have put in the time and effort to make the programme happen and would encourage all Place Directors to support their staff to participate in the future.”

Emma Cooney, Director of Regeneration and Business Development, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council


“The course provides you with an excellent appreciation of the scale and breadth of the role of the Place Director in today’s complex local government landscape.  The modules have been very engaging, well researched and expertly presented and the standard of the external speakers has been first class.  The cohort has really connected as a group and developed into a network which I can see being really beneficial in the rest of my career.  By taking part in the course I now feel better equipped to meet the next challenge in my leadership journey.”

Barrie Mason, North Yorkshire County Council

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