Diploma in Public Sector Asset Management

The Diploma in Public Asset Management is a collaborative approach between CIPFA and ACES


The below extract is from an article due to be published in the ACES terrier.

The course is now in its sixth iteration and 177 candidates will have completed the Diploma in Strategic Asset Management by July 2023.The first iteration of the course was run September through to Christmas 2020  with ACES and CIPFA colleagues collaborating to present each module.

The course received favourable feedback from the participants and after each iteration of the course a detailed review washup session is undertaken to see if improvements can be made to delivery and the course content.

The course initially drew interest from predominantly local government but is now finding traction with a wider audience from education, housing, central government and the emergency services.

The following is part of the discussion between Mark Poppy from CIPFA and Malcolm Williams and Neil Webster, ACES.

Malcolm- the course has exceeded my expectations. Has it for you and what do you put that down to?

Neil – definitely. I had high hopes for the Diploma, but the number of people and the frequency of sessions is beyond my initial “targets”.

Mark - I agree, the variety of participants from across the public sector and abroad has really been a positive point.

Malcolm - From your point of view what do you think is the most important experience/thing a student can take away from this course and conversely what do you think you have gained/taken away from presenting the course?

Neil – whilst the technical content is very useful, I think the sharing of issues candidates are facing in the current roles is very helpful to them. It is at the heart of what ACES does. In terms of presenting, the converse is I get to hear what the issues are and can tailor the course accordingly making it as relevant as it can be to today’s challenges.

Mark – the course covers both operational and strategic content and is brought alive by the real-life contribution by the delegates which really adds to the richness and depth of the course. For us at CIPFA it provides a useful insight into what the key issues are on the ground and therefore help shape our offers to the public sector. The final assignments are fabulous case studies for us.

Malcolm - The success of the course points to a market need you appear to be filling Do you think active marketing or word of mouth has borne the most fruit.

Mark - Joint working has provided most of our students often through word of mouth and repeat business from organisations. Going forward we will need to embrace social media more and encourage participants to be marketing ambassadors for us.

Neil – seems a combination of the two. The ACES and CIPFA networks are very strong, so we reach a lot of people just by candidates speaking about the course. However, CIPFA, supported by us, have been very focused on marketing the Diploma beyond our traditional markets, including reaching overseas.

Malcolm - There has been an initial good take up/response from local government to put employees through the diploma course and latterly you are getting more traction from central government. What would you say to central government on why this course could be of benefit to their employees

Mark - We are now seeing delegates from housing, education , police and central government, but we believe more delegates from these sectors would only strengthen the diploma for those attending and supporting them in their day job. I would say it provides delegates with skills, tools and an experience that can be translated into the workplace immediately. The final assignment is a very practical example of this.

Neil - you are right that our initial focus was local government. However, my part of the course covers asset management today, collaboration and sharing. This is equally as relevant to central as it is to local government in fact the whole of the public sector. In today’s climate, central government need our lens to see what s happening in asset management at a local level and how this might impact on policy. There are also more collaborative projects including those supported by One Public Estate funding.

Malcolm - How important do you think the joint washup sessions have been?

Mark - It allows us to reflect on how the previous cohort has gone but also allows us what changes are required for the next. It allows us to share market intelligence and new thinking. It is a key element and now we have moved them to face to face has really strengthened the relationship between ACES and CIPFA.

Neil – very much part of our continuous improvement process. Whilst the format and content is very good there are always tweaks we can make to give candidates relevant content and an enjoyable experience.

Malcolm - Have you got any other ideas fermenting regarding other collaborative approaches to bringing courses forward where you think there is a need to upskill local and central government

Neil – we have been approached recently to consider adapting part of the course for the public housing market. It is early days but it just shows how relevant the course is to various parts of the market?

Mark – Although key elements of the course are appropriate to all aspects of the public sector, we are aware that we need to ensure the content and material is applicable. For example, we now use someone from the blue light services to deliver module 2 and we are in discussion with governing bodies in housing and education.

The course continues to attract interest from the public sector and is a unique qualification.

The next intake is now open with the course starting in September 2023.

If you are interested in the Diploma from your own or a team member perspective please contact mark.poppy@cipfa.org for an initial conversation.