Developing Leadership and Skills

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At its heart, CIPFA is a membership institute, and across all sectors, economies and geographies, we believe people are an organisation's most important asset.

However, the challenges faced by our members, and by public sector bodies more broadly, are different and often more complex than for other organisations. For example, public finance professionals operate in highly political environments with competing stakeholder demands: they must focus not just on financial outcomes but the outcomes for the people and communities they serve.

From financial resilience to tackling sustainability and the impact of COVID-19, the public finance profession needs to adapt to ensure it can effectively tackle the challenges of both today and tomorrow.

What are the challenges?

In working towards developing and continually maintaining best practice in the leadership and skills of their staff, public sector organisations are faced with many issues.

Industry changes and advancements

Technological progress in the areas of artificial intelligence and machine learning are transforming processes and practices and organisations must keep pace. There is also a balance to be struck between regulation and income generation. In addition, leaders must also ensure they establish a strong financial governance system, increase resilience within their public body, support the required services and initiatives for their community and effect transformation in their organisation.

Management of employee expertise

Not investing in robust workforce training will always be to the detriment of progress in any organisation. Nonetheless, public sector organisations today face more hurdles than ever as they seek to ensure they invest in staff who will give back as much as they take and more, replace expertise as it leaves, and transform the skills of long-standing employees.

Time constraint

As the pandemic has taught us, when external events negatively affect our lives, it takes time to deal with them. In many instances, the extra resourcing needed during COVID-19 within the public sector has come at the expense of continued training and development as priorities shifted to supporting and delivering essential frontline services.

Budget constraints

The public sector faces extensive change, and more is being expected of its employees than ever as it seeks to improve services and outcomes, all with fewer resources. However, the training and professional development of a workforce requires investment, and as budgets tighten, the constant advancement needed in this area is impacted.

How can CIPFA help?

At CIPFA, we are committed to lifelong learning and to continuing professional development – not only for our members, but also the finance teams of the organisations we work with.

Whether you are interested in our learning offerings for your own professional development or to enhance the skills of your team, we can help public finance leaders and practitioners sharpen, refresh and update their knowledge and skills – both technical and strategic.

For further information on how we can help visit our sections on:

Micro Modules

Our micro modules are free of charge and offer quick introductions to selected topics. Prepared by CIPFA’s subject matter experts, they deliver key information in an easily digestible, online format.

View our micro modules on:

For the full list of our available micro modules, visit