Working to make government more effective

'How to' guide

A job like no other: How government ministers can be supported to succeed

How ministers benefit from professional executive support, the skills and areas this support can cover, and how ministers can access it.

A ministers portfolio

Ministers can benefit from professional development and support to increase the impact they have throughout their ministerial careers.

The role of a government minister is unlike any other job. Ministers lead organisations of hundreds or thousands of people; they make life-changing policy decisions every day; they represent the government in public and in the media; and most of them also represent their constituents in the House of Commons. But much of the job is unlike anything ministers have done before and taking the time to work out how to do it can deliver huge rewards.

This brochure looks at how ministers benefit from professional executive support, the skills and areas this support can cover, and how ministers can access it. It sets out how political parties, the civil service and politicians can create the time and space for ministers to develop the skills they need to excel in their roles.

Ministers can draw on the examples of their predecessors, counterparts in other countries and senior leaders in other sectors to think about how they can invest in their own development. This can take many forms, from conversations with those who have done the job before to formal programmes for learning. There are many benefits to professional development for ministers and those who seek to enter government, including:

  • Understanding how to get the most out of the government machine to deliver their outcomes
  • Thinking strategically about their priorities to deliver transformational change
  • Effectively applying their existing skills in government, and developing them in the role
  • Breaking down silos across government by sharing insights with other ministers.

Stepping back from the day to day to identify the best way to approach a role is common in business and the public sector. Government ministers too can benefit from seeking out support, to increase the impact they have throughout their ministerial careers.

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