Effective government needs effective political leadership: ministers who understand their roles; set clear priorities; work well with their departments; and cope with the demands of the job. 

Our work on more effective ministers focuses on practical research and professional development programmes. The aim is to help ministers – and the teams who work for them – get the best out of their time in office.  

Learning and development

Based on our research findings we have developed a programme of support for:

  • cabinet ministers and their teams
  • junior ministers from across Whitehall
  • shadow ministers who are preparing for office
  • private offices.

This support is highly tailored and confidential, but includes:

  • induction events
  • seminars and briefings
  • team away-days
  • one-to-one support
  • confidential performance feedback.

Find out more about our professional development for ministers

    Our research

    Ministers lead the Government, yet there is little understanding of what a ministerial role actually entails and how best to fill it. Our research therefore focuses on the experience of ministers who have done the job:

    • Ministers Reflect is a unique archive of interviews with former government ministers. It is designed to record – in their own words – what it takes to be an effective minister, the challenges ministers face, and what more can be done to help ministers achieve their policy objectives.
    • Our 2017 report How to be an Effective Minister draws on more than 70 Ministers Reflect interviews with politicians such as Ken Clarke, Nicky Morgan and Alistair Darling.
    • Our 2015 report Supporting Politicians to Lead in Government provides insights from the Institute’s private work with current and future ministers from all major parties.

    Watch our video on how to be effective in government

    Project contacts

    Senior Fellow
    Tess Kidney Bishop