Diploma in Commercial Skills

An opportunity to develop the commercial acumen and skills that are now critically important for the public sector.

All CIPFA members receive 10% off the price of this course.

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The programme can also be delivered in-house. For more information, contact us at: inhousetraining@cipfa.org

About the course

The public sector is becoming more commercial in its outlook and practices, driven largely by continuing budget pressures, the need to generate extra revenue and to effectively manage an increasing number of partnership arrangements, joint ventures and private sector contracts. CIPFA's Diploma in Commercial Skills (formerly the Commercial Mini MBA) is designed to help you meet these challenges head-on while retaining your public sector ethos.

The course follows a similar format to a MBA course, using a very high level overview of core techniques taught in business schools: strategy, marketing, commercial finance and operations. It will help you to develop a commercial approach to planning, designing and delivering services and on completion of the course, you will be equipped with the knowledge and skills to:

  • define what 'commercial' and 'commercial strategy' means for you and your organisation
  • more readily identify and exploit commercial opportunities
  • change your own and your colleagues' attitudes toward opportunities and risk and become more risk savvy
  • be better able to judge what is possible from a financial, political and managerial standpoint

Who is the course for?

The course is aimed at managers and their professional advisers in finance, HR and other disciplines looking to develop a more commercial mind-set.


The CIPFA Diploma in Commercial Skills is completed over four to six months. This includes:

  • five days of classroom learning - currently being delivered online
  • approximately 50 hours of additional work to complete the assessment requirements

Course outline 

  • Strategies for commercialism (two days)
  • Finance for commercialism (one day)
  • Marketing a commercial service (one day)
  • Implementing a commercial approach (one day)


For each module you will be asked to submit a written assignment in which you demonstrate your understanding of the learning and your ability to transfer it to your work place and into your own work practices. Your assignments will be marked against assessment criteria which will be shared with you and your course tutor will be there to provide support and guidance throughout.


On successful completion of the required units and associated assessment, you will be awarded the CIPFA Diploma in Commercial Skills. The diploma is broadly equivalent to a level seven (postgraduate) qualification in relation to degree of challenge.

CIPFA membership

On successful completion of the programme, you can apply for CIPFA Affiliate membership. If you're not already a CIPFA member, this is a great way to access a wealth of resources and networking opportunities. Find out more and apply under 'Other professionals'.

This course carries 85 CPD hours

All CIPFA training counts towards your continuing professional development (CPD). If you are a CIPFA Chartered Member, you are required to undertake a minimum of 20 hours of relevant CPD activity each year as part of maintaining your professional competence and to develop skills and knowledge.

Find out more about CPD requirements.


£2,750 +VAT per delegate (open course only). CIPFA members are entitled to a 10% discount.