The 21st Century Public Servant Leadership Programme for Aspiring Directors

This programme, running from March 2021 to September 2021 is delivered in partnership with Public Health England, and is designed for those who aspire to director-level roles focused on improving the public’s health. 

As the experience of 2020 has amply demonstrated, high performance in these director-level roles call for leaders capable of working in volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous environments. They must be skilled at building relationships across whole systems of public service provision, and able to operate effectively in a dynamic political landscape. This programme focuses on enabling aspiring senior public health leaders to find ways of working successfully in this challenging context, so that they are able to build and sustain necessary strategic partnerships, and collaborate to deliver health improvements for local communities.

To achieve the core objectives of the programme we will create learning environments, through workshops, leadership ‘labs’, action learning sets and coaching opportunities, in which participants are supported and challenged to apply the principles of systems leadership to their work, build a connected learning community, and develop the behaviours, skills and knowledge of effective systems leaders.

In this short video, a selection of some of the participants from the current cohort talk about their experience on the programme.

Information about the Aspiring Senior Leaders programme

Who can apply for the programme?

This programme is for those who have been working at a senior level in the following areas for at least 2 years, and who have the ability and desire to be a Director of Public Health, or work at Director level in their own profession, within 3 years of the end of the programme:

  • Public Health
  • Children, Young People and Family Services
  • Adult Health and Care Services
  • Commissioning & Service Development
  • Education, Housing & wider Community Services
  • Others with significant responsibility for the delivery or planning of public health related services.

This course is non-accredited.

Programme cost

This Programme is funded by Public Health England (PHE) and is a collaboration between the University of Birmingham and PHE.

  • For those in Public Health working in England, the course is free: this includes accommodation during residential sessions and all materials used on the programme. You will be responsible for travel costs and for overnight accommodation before modules start if required.
  • For those in Public Health Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, or if you are working in any of the other services listed above (except Public Health) in England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, there will be a cost of £1500 plus VAT. This represents a significant subsidy on the total cost of the programme.

Programme dates

Please note that all successful applicants for the programme MUST COMMIT TO ATTENDING ALL of the following dates

  • 25th March 2021

  • 5-6th May 2021

  •  10th June 2021

  • 15th and 16th July 2021

  • 22nd September 2021

  • Alumni Session on 2nd February 2022

How to Apply

Please note that applications have now closed for 2021 entry. 

At the moment next year’s cohort is to be confirmed but if you require any general information about the programme please contact