The 21st century public servant

  • 21cps-720What does it mean to be a 21st century public servant?
  • What are the skills, attributes and values which effective public servants will display in the future?
  • How can people working in public services be supported to get those skills?

These are some of the issues addressed in the report on the 21st Century Public Servant research project, launched in November 2014. Research findings have been widely disseminated on a local, national and international basis and a number of bodies are now using the findings to shape their approach to leadership, skills and workforce development within their own organisations.

Interest has been generated across public services, not only in local authorities, but also in health, police and fire services, as well as in organisations which bring all of these services together in partnership.

Latest developments

  • Catherine Mangan, Director of the Public Service Academy, and co-author of the report, is currently working with the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) to develop a workforce development strategy for public servants across the WMCA, based on the 21st century public servant research.
  • Autumn 2017 saw the first intake to the 21st Century Public Servant Leadership Programme for Aspiring Directors. This new programme, delivered in partnership with Public Health England, is designed for those who aspire to director-level roles focused on improving the public’s health.
  • A national steering group has been established in partnership with Local Government Association (LGA), Society of local authority chief executives (SOLACE) and the public sector people management association (PPMA) to support the implementation of 21st century public servant approaches across councils.  This has been expanded to include civil service, NHS employers, fire and police national bodies.
  • The steering group is developing a national scheme of accreditation, which will recognise a council as being a 21st century public servant employer.
  • A set of 21st century Public Servant playing cards has been developed as a practical tool for organisations wanting to translate the research into practice.
  • The LGA is now inviting organisations to submit evidence of their use of 21cps in practice via the LGA website.

Get involved

Are you using the 21cps approach in your organisation?  We would love to hear how it is being used in practice. Please contact Liz Haydon ( 

Find out more

The 21st century councillor is an interrelated research project examining the roles and skills of 21st century councillors.