Who We Are


The Staff College has been established to support the development of leadership and management capacity in local authorities and their Children’s Trust partner organisations and, through this, contribute to the improvement of locality services for children, young people and families. The Staff College will seek to:

  • develop current and future leaders
  • provide timely and appropriate CPD opportunities for all leaders within children’s services and partner organisations
  • horizon scan and anticipate emerging challenges for local authorities and their CT partners
  • support and lead on new developments to meet these challenges
  • be instrumental in developing the “collective intelligence” of the children’s services community
  • respond to systemic and organisational changes in children’s services

Launched in July 1999, The Staff College, formally known as the Virtual Staff College (VSC), designs and organises professional development opportunities for those in principal and senior leadership positions in local authority children’s services, children’s trusts and partnership arrangements and advisors/practitioners working in the leadership, management and delivery of services for children, young people and families throughout the UK.

It provides direct delivery and facilitation of training and development programmes, workshops and action learning sets supported by online resources and technical web-based workshops. All of its leadership and management programmes are rooted in participant co-construction, self-directed, peer supported learning and the principles of adult learning. They are delivered in a highly interactive format and involve a combination of sector expertise, research and the sharing of good practice.

The Staff College has been centrally involved in the design, development and delivery of a number of national initiatives including:

  • design and delivery of the Aspirant DCS Programme (2011-present)
  • design and delivery of the Black and Asian Leadership Initiative (2012-present)
  • design and delivery of the Leadership for Change Programme (2013-2017)
  • the accountable body for the DCS Leadership Provision (2011-2015)
  • the DCS Leadership Provision at the National College (2009-2011)
  • the National Leadership Qualities Framework for Directors of Children’s Services (2010)
  • design and delivery of the upon Aspirant and New Director programmes (2020- )
Core Provision

This element of the Staff College’s work is aimed at providing professional and practical support to the public sector in general and the children’s services community in particular through the design and delivery of national cross-sector programmes, national initiatives and liaison with local and central government.

This core work on behalf of the children’s services community of practice sits at the centre of the College’s activities and, although often less visible than other elements of its provision, does reflect the fundamental commitment of the College to supporting the development of leadership capacity in local authority provision for improving outcomes for children, young people and families.

Over the past four years the College’s commitment to cross-sector leadership provision has meant that new and often innovative opportunities for leadership development have become more readily available to the children’s services community at both Director and Assistant Director level. Furthermore, as integrated working across health and social care becomes more prevalent, there will be an increased need for those in senior leadership roles to embrace and nurture a more outward facing style of working.

“Transforming services is hard. Organisations across the public, voluntary and private sectors are coming together to find new solutions to seemingly intractable problems by radically transforming their approach to services in their area. But whether they are tackling alcohol abuse or supporting people with dementia, their success is being determined by people and culture.”

(from ‘The Revolution will be Improvised – stories and insights about transforming systems’, Leadership for Change)