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Springboard Leadership

Springboard Leadership

Jump into the Springboard leadership management programme

Springboard the next generation of leaders

A flagship leadership programme developed by Solace and LGA for future senior leaders and Chief Executives.

The programme explores what is required of leaders to work across boundaries and we are looking for people who already excel in their current roles and want to stretch their leadership thinking and practice.

Please note that applications for Springboard are now closed.

Programme overview

The Springboard leadership programme has evolved to provide a pipeline of senior public sector leaders equipped to operate in an increasingly complex and messy public sector environment.

Covid-19 and the cost-of-living crisis have brought unprecedented financial pressures on local authorities and exacerbated existing inequalities in the communities we serve. This, coupled with the fiscal challenge and the levelling up agenda, climate change and racial and socio-economic inequalities means there has never been a stronger need for leaders to be adaptable and collaborate across organisational and professional boundaries.

Springboard has established a high-profile presence and a track record of delegates progressing their careers and making a significant impact on improving public services. There is an active Alumni group that provides access to a rich community of leaders committed to developing their own leadership skills and making a difference.

The programme is part funded through the LGA’s improvement grant and Solace and is recognised as a vehicle to develop and stretch future senior leaders and we have tracked progression to chief executive roles.


To give you more of a flavour of the programme our previous Springboarders tell you in their own words what they gained from their Springboard journey, and we hope you are interested in joining our community.

“ The Solace Springboard provides a once in a career opportunity to engage in a unique leadership development experience and catapult future leaders. The sessions with skilled facilitators cover a wide programme encouraging personal development, the growing of leadership skills alongside valuable networking opportunities  with local authority colleagues from across the U.K.

The  learning continues  outside the programme through a range of mediums including personal mentoring and with a diverse network of fellow aspiring leaders keen to learn and share experiences for the long term benefit  of the public sector.  I thoroughly recommend the programme and look forward to utilising and sharing my experiences at Lancashire County Council”.

Chris Dyson, Strategic Development Programme Manager, Lancashire County Council

“I would just like to say it has been a privilege to take part in the Springboard program. It provides opportunity to connect with like-minded people, ignite fresh thinking, share ideas and support one another. The quality of the program and speakers has been excellent throughout. I would highly recommend it!”

Kirsty Larkins, Case Team Manager, South Somerset District Council


Springboard’s target audience is the next generation of senior leaders, it is designed for leaders who already excel in their current role as Head of Service or equivalent. Applicants will be ambitious and passionate about making a difference in their organisation and place.

  • For 2024 LGA and Solace are looking for the very best leaders who want to commit to their own development over the next 12 months and use the programme as a further springboard for their career.
  • A unique feature of the programme is the diversity of experience and backgrounds that successful applicants bring, and we invest time in the recruitment process to create a rich mix of delegates from different types of councils/organizations supporting the public sector, professional disciplines/roles.

We welcome people from diverse backgrounds and with protected characteristics.

What will the programme involve?

  • 3 Springboard gatherings – 24-hour events.
  • 2 Online workshops – TBC.
  • Mentoring support from a senior leader.
  • Funded place for Solace Summit event.
  • Invitations to Solace events and access to membership resources for 12 months.  
  • Access to ongoing support through the Springboard Alumni community. 
  • Commitment totalling around 12-15 days of work for delegates over the year.

Any accommodation and travel costs for delegates are to be covered by the host authority or organisation.

Springboard Gatherings

  • A series of 24-hour workshops will provide the spine for the programme and will help you think about and develop the skills you will need for your future stretch as a public service leader. 
  • Each of the workshops includes contributions from a Chief Executive or Leader and are set up as private ‘Chatham House’ discussions to provide insight into leadership in practice and explore current issues.
  • Online Cyber skills programme for leaders and managers.
  • Invitation to Solace Summit 2024 including trailblazer camp.

Key programme themes

  • Developing your leadership presence – authenticity and impact.
  • Public sector leadership.
  • Collaborative leadership – leading across a system/boundaries.
  • Leading in a political environment – navigation of the landscape .
  • Leading change and transitions.
  • Cyber Skills.

Stretching your knowledge and networking

We will offer you a complimentary 12-month Solace membership along with access to all of our policy masterclasses.

You will also have the opportunity to get involved in both the Solace Summit and the Annual Leadership Forum. These events offer a fantastic opportunity to meet and network with key sector leaders.

You may also be invited to support policy work on behalf of Solace where you have particular expertise.

Mentoring and personal stretch

We will match you with an external mentor who is a Chief Executive or Director at an authority other than your own.

They will meet with you throughout the programme to offer support with career planning and development – offering impartial experience and advice about how you can move your career on to the next level.


We are looking for ambitious and motivated people who will make the most of the programme and any other opportunities that may arise from your time on Springboard. Some of the most valuable experiences will come from the doors that the programme opens and we will provide connections and networking opportunities.

It’s important that your Chief Executive/Director nominates you and can support and encourage you to build your profile within your council.


Joining the programme

By joining the programme you are committing to:

  • Holding the dates given in your diary
  • Attending all the modules
  • Working on development challenges with a small ‘home team’ between modules
  • Joining the Alumni network after completion of the programme

What’s the price?

Successful Springboard applicants will be asked for a £250 + VAT contribution towards the programme.

Want to find out more?

If you have any further questions or would like to have a chat with one of the team about the programme, email

Springboard is kindly sponsored by

As part of the LGA’s Sector Led Improvement programme for the local government sector.