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Total Leadership

Total Leadership

Future-proof your leadership approach

Delivered in conjunction with University of Birmingham and sponsored by the LGA, as part of sector led improvement, Total Leadership is a truly unique development programme.

This programme is designed by professional development specialists and delivered by experienced local government practitioners alongside academics from a Russell Group University to provide ‘kite-marked’ bespoke leadership development opportunities; carefully blending the latest cutting-edge academic theory with practical skills and knowledge, together with unique insights from high-profile speakers.

Total Leadership is uniquely tailored to the particular needs of senior executive professional leaders within UK local government and commercial organisations within the public service space.

What past participants have to say

rigorous grounding in evidence

Throughout, the programme is underpinned by extensive frontline experience in the sector and by UK and global research, which highlights the urgent need for sophisticated transformational leadership skills in a rapidly changing leadership context.

The programme provides external, expert and objective validation of the competence and capacity of each participant, supporting them to address the significant challenges of leading and managing integrated local public services. For employers, completion of this programme offers indisputable evidence of participants’ ability to carry out the demanding roles of such senior posts successfully, and the programme is now considered a pre-requisite for aspiring Chief Executives.

From our facilitators

“I have been hugely impressed by the quality and dedication of Total Leadership participants, and it has been great to watch them benefit from the programme. They have gelled really well, and brought a wide range of experience and perspectives which they have shared openly and generously.”

“Many of the participants have already seen significant career development and, just as importantly, personal growth, and we have been impressed with the level of progression. Many have found new roles, with as many moving up within their organisation as taking the next step with new employers.”

pioneering the latest thinking

Graduates of the programme are required to make a firm commitment to continuing professional development and to adhere to a new ethical code of standards for the
way in which these newly acquired skills are exercised. This is a key element of Solace’s commitment to the promotion of excellence in public service leadership and management

Programme Overview


The course runs over twelve months, with five residentials, plus online learning and action learning on real-time, work-based problems.

Launch – 10th January 2025

Module 1 – 12th, 13th, 14th February 2025

Module 2 – 2nd – 3rd April 2025

Module 3 – 26th – 27th June 2025

Module 4 – 11th– 12th September 2025

Module 5 – 10th, 11th, 12th November 2025


  • Co-design workshop at the outset, and co-design throughout the sessions to keep the programme adapting to real life demands.
  • Support systems
  • Coaching/Mentoring
  • Flexible, ‘blended learning’ approach with an intensive residential programme supported by encouraged experiential learning
  • Guided reading (journal articles/book chapters)
  • Action Learning Sets


The programme will help you decide if you are ready to be a Chief Executive, and enable you to confidently demonstrate key transformational leadership skills, including:

  • Mediating contested leadership spaces and the political and managerial interface
  • Demonstrating strategic leadership, from vision to delivery
  • Leading collaboratively across partnerships and alliances powerfully and effectively
  • Understanding the type of leadership skills and behaviours required for the future through exposure to real life experiences from the perspective of cutting-edge speakers

Programme Fees

Programme fees for members are £4995 + VAT, inclusive of accommodation and all course materials.

Programme fees for non-members are £5250 + VAT inclusive of accommodation and all course materials.

Shaping future leaders

Previous cohorts were drawn from all types of organisation working within local public services: districts, Mets, Counties, London Boroughs, Scottish Local Governments, and other organisations working with the public sector.

To date, thirteen past participants are now in a Chief Executive role.

Programme Modules


Participants will meet with each other and the design and delivery team, develop a common understanding of the programme, and help to shape it.

Module 1: Understanding the Context of your Leadership

Participants will develop a deeper understanding of the local government leadership space which will inform their future thinking in the remainder of the programme. We will look at member / officer relationships, working with communities, resourcing and workforce challenges and the future of public services.

Module 2: Place & Systems Leadership

Participants will have formed a view about how they will personally develop relationships of trust across the whole system locally and also how they might start to develop a national profile as an ambassador for place.

Module 3: Innovation , Adaptive & Agile Leadership

Participants will learn about how places create sustainable change, the use of data and digital, and how to deliver better outcomes and use resources most effectively.

Module 4: Inclusivity & Complexity

Participants will be able to feel at ease with ideas of complexity, and collaboration. We will explore what blocks us and our staff from making changes happen.

We will look at inclusive leadership and service design and delivery.

Module 5: Authentic Personal Leadership & Resilience

Understanding how to create a positive public leadership narrative which helps you to engage with people to see you as a leader. Participants will explore how to offer their leadership to people through a narrative that they can relate to. We will explore how engagement with digital media changes and shapes that approach. We will explore personal development choices and how to apply for CE posts in person or online and how to stay resilient and build resilient workplaces and communities

LGA Officer Peer

By taking part in Total Leadership, you will automatically be registered with the LGA as an officer peer. Being an officer peer gives you the opportunity to use your local government expertise across the sector through LGA peer challenges and other opportunities as and when they arise.  It also opens further learning opportunities for you through the exposure to different councils, challenges and leadership styles and widens your network by being part of the LGA’s peer pool.  For more information and to register your interest click here.


Who can apply?

To apply for Total Leadership you must be operating at a senior executive level within your organisation.

You should either work in the public sector, or for a private sector organisation that has strong ties to the public sector.

Need more information?

If you would like to have an exploratory conversation with a member of the programme team, please get in touch using the button below, and we will arrange a telephone appointment.