LEAD Programme for CFO/Section 151 officers

Designed exclusively for Chief Financial Officers/Section 151 officers looking to develop and elevate their strategic leadership skills and drive continued success within their local authorities.

All CIPFA members receive 10% off the price of this course. Funded by UK Government, bursaries are available for delegates from eligible organisations. See below for more detail.

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UK Government has funded the development of this programme via the LGA Sector-Led Improvement Support Programme 2024/25. Please note that when booking you will be asked to complete a data capture form in which you agree for CIPFA to share with LGA and/or UK Government the details of your booking.

To book a place or to enquire about bursaries, please contact events@cipfa.org.

Applications for bursaries close Friday 30 August. Decisions on bursary applications will be delivered by Friday 6 September.

Course dates and locations

  • Module one: 24 September 2024 - Virtual (Half day online)
  • Module two: 1-15 November 2024 - Virtual (Self-assessment)
  • Module three: January 2025 date and location TBC (Full day)
  • Module four: 12-13 February 2025 - Manchester (Overnight stay)
  • Module five: 16 April 2025 - King's Fund HQ, London (Half day)
  • Module six: 20 May 2025 - Birmingham (Full day)
  • Module seven: 24 June 2025 - CIPFA, London (Half day)
  • Module eight: 16-17 July 2025 - Liverpool (Overnight stay) 

About the course

Funded by UK Government, this course has been developed by CIPFA exclusively for CFO/Section 151 officers working in English Local Authorities.

The CFO is one of the most important roles within a local authority but the responsibilities are becoming more complex and unforgiving in an uncertain and financially turbulent world. However, the role has a number of dimensions that make it ever-more interesting and rewarding. Local Government is increasingly looking to CFOs to offer more innovative and transformative solutions to a range of key issues faced by the sector.

Having demonstrated their potential to reach this level, CFOs should continue to develop their skills and competencies within a challenging work environment. This programme will enable participating CFOs to devote quality time to think about their future development needs and to develop their strategic leadership skills.

Our CFO LEAD (Leadership, Exploration, Accelerated Development) Programme has been developed to empower local CFO/Section 151 officers with the strategic mindset, leadership acumen, and technical prowess necessary to navigate the complexities of being the most senior finance leader in their organisation.

What the course covers

The programme has eight modules delivered across a 12 month programme. Some of the modules will provide a helpful intersection between the CFO, the CEO and the Monitoring Officer to enable further analysis of the closer working required by the three key statutory officers through the roles they play within the ‘Golden Triangle’.

Modules are all one day face-to-face meetings unless otherwise indicated:

  • Module one: Introduction
  • Module two: Self-assessment CFO skills and competency model
  • Module three: Golden Triangle & relationships
  • Module four: Situational analysis and working in a complex political environment
  • Module five: Developing the finance professional community
  • Module six: Knowing the rules and personal resilience
  • Module seven: Managing stakeholders
  • Module eight: Reflective activities and programme closure

Learning outcomes

By the end of the programme, delegates will:

  • Have completed a self-assessment against CIPFA’s specially designed CFO Competency Model. This will help delegates to identify what they have accomplished in key skills/competency areas, focus on where they may need further help, and start to plan or implement development activities.
  • Learn how to develop and enhance their strategic leadership contribution and value to what is becoming a more complex and ambiguous operating environment.
  • Understand how to leverage their own leadership strengths with key stakeholders ie, golden triangle members, politicians, partners, fellow members of the senior management team, staff members.
  • Be better equipped to work within a complex political environment.
  • Better understand the interrelationship and group dynamics of the three statutory roles making up the ‘golden triangle’: the Chief Executive, S151 Officer and Monitoring Officer.
  • Strengthen their role in the governance and assurance of their local authority and in keeping it safe.
  • Be better equipped to deal with difficult and complex situations through situational analysis work and reflective activities.
  • Have a good understanding of the rules, procedures and key regulations required of them in discharging their statutory duties.
  • Gain a better understanding of their impact as the head of the finance profession within their organisation, and how they can better support their team and those around them where finance may not be their professional skillset.
  • Have developed a wider network of people within their professional community that can be called upon for support as required. 

Key features

  • Expert-led sessions: Learn from a range of seasoned industry experts from across public life, renowned academics, and successful CFOs who bring real-world insights and experiences to the table.
  • Interactive workshops: Engage in hands-on workshops, simulations designed to reinforce learning and foster critical thinking.
  • Peer learning: Network with a cohort of like-minded finance professionals from across local government, share best practices, and gain valuable perspectives from diverse industry backgrounds and at the same time, extend the reach of your personal network.
  • Testing ideas and learning: Apply theoretical knowledge and new approaches to problem solving including the challenges faced when working in the Golden Triangle dynamic. Taking real-world scenarios and exploring these with colleagues in a safe learning environment whilst exploring the immediate relevance and impact in your professional role. Explore your role within the construct of the Golden Triangle with your CEO and Monitoring Officer to enable this core group of statutory officers to work more effectively, continuing to deliver value to their local authority.
  • Access to resources: Gain access to a library of resources, tools, and templates to support ongoing learning and professional development.

Who is the course aimed at?

Delegates must be a CFO/Section 151 officer of a Local Authority.

We welcome delegates who are both newly appointed and more experienced. Also CFOs from different types of local authority including districts, unitaries, metropolitan boroughs and counties etc.


£2,800 excluding VAT

CIPFA will offer a small number of bursaries dependent on need, funded by UK Government. Bursaries will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis to eligible delegates and will be for at least 50% of the price.

All CIPFA members will receive a 10% discount off the price of this programme. One discount applies.

CPD hours

This course carries 56 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.

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