New curriculum and campus to improve Civil Service skills and expertise

New Curriculum and Campus for Government Skills is part of the government’s Civil Service modernisation programme and builds on Michael Gove’s Ditchley speech last year

• Move will help embed Civil Service training across government, with a renewed emphasis on technical and analytical skills
• More rigorous and specialist training will ultimately mean less reliance on expensive external consultants
• Training will also be offered to Ministers

An overhaul of Civil Service training is being launched today that will equip civil servants with the skills and knowledge to deliver the best possible public services, become less reliant on expensive external consultants, and build back stronger, fairer, safer and greener.

The plans are part of the government’s transformation programme.

The new Curriculum and Campus for Government Skills will transform training and development for civil servants from the core knowledge needed at the beginning of their career through to specialist training in areas such as economics, data usage, the physical sciences, and constitutional issues.

The new training offer will also develop in-house Civil Service expertise, ultimately allowing government to rely less on expensive consultants saving taxpayers money.

As well as the thousands of civil servants across the UK, the curriculum will also offer induction training for new ministers.

Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster Michael Gove said:

"We must make the most of the amazing talent that we have in such abundance in the Civil Service and that means ensuring civil servants across the UK are equipped with the right skills and can develop deep knowledge of the areas they work in.

"For too long training has been focussed on the latest management jargon and ignored specialist knowledge.

"The New Curriculum and Campus for Government Skills will transform our approach to training and deliver better public services for families across the UK."

Chief Operating Officer for the Civil Service Alex Chisholm said:

"This new curriculum and learning campus will better target training in key areas, as well as focus on building up technical and vocational skills.

"It will help us to maximise the outstanding talent in the Civil Service, providing more opportunities for civil servants at every level to develop and progress their careers."

The new curriculum is divided into five complementary strands, providing training in a range of areas including:

1. Foundations of public administration, such as analysing evidence, training in how to write effective submissions and policy documents, and in data handling

2. Working in government, providing information on devolution & intergovernmental working, parliament and legislation and the machinery of government

3. Leading and managing, offering advice and training for current and future leaders

4. Specialist skills, developing deep expertise in areas such as analysis, digital and procurement

5. Domain knowledge, focusing on building and assessing knowledge in specific policy areas, such as health, education or transport

By the end of the year, it is expected that thousands of civil servants will have taken part in the training, with courses ranging from initial induction to working in Government up to line management training and specialist courses.

The new curriculum will also better induct staff who are new to the civil service. A pass/fail assessment pilot will be established, with the aim of giving managers the assurance about a new start’s capabilities, providing a ‘license to practice’.

The campus will initially be based online. As part of the programme we are looking at potentially partnering with existing public sector centres of excellence, like the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.

Other initiatives include the potential for a College for National Security and a Service Delivery Academy. The College of National Security will improve skills and access to expertise for individuals working in defence, security and foreign policy and strategy areas. The College will also work with universities and other sectors so that civil servants can better utilise wider expertise in this area.

Owing to the Covid-19 pandemic training sessions will be held virtually to begin with, but in-person sessions will be developed for use in the future.

The new curriculum will replace the current training system across government, which features a mix of centralised core skills and individually commissioned training programmes held in every department.

The new system will lead to the development of more rigorous standards for training across the whole of Government, reduce the risk of duplication in training and learning, and offer better value for money.

Cabinet Office
The Rt Hon Michael Gove MP