Cabinet Office taskforce to create new public service leadership centre

Group to be chaired by Ministry of Defence board member and banking executive Sir Gerry Grimstone

Sir Gerry Grimstone. Photo: PA

By Richard Johnstone

22 May 2018

The government has named a 19-strong taskforce to review the quality of leadership across the public sector that will make recommendations for the creation of an academy to improve management across government bodies.

The Cabinet Office yesterday announced the public service leadership taskforce will be chaired by Sir Gerry Grimstone, the lead non-executive director at the Ministry of Defence and chair of Standard Life. Other members of the group include David Halpern, the chief executive of the Behavioural Insights Team, a spin-out of the Cabinet Office's so-called Nudge Unit, and Julian McCrae, a senior fellow at the Institute for Government.

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in the Autumn Budget last year that the government would create a Public Service Leadership Academy to share best practice across central government organisations, the NHS, local government and the wider public sector.


Since rebranded as the Centre for Public Service Leadership, the initiative is intended to complement existing areas such as the Civil Service Leadership Academy, and a panel has been convened to consider how a new body could “best work to create networks and share best practice across the public services”.

In the Budget documents, the Treasury said great leadership is crucial for improving productivity, with the centre intended to share best practice across public services.

The taskforce, which brings together experts from across the public, private and third sectors, will submit its findings in a report to ministers on the next steps to creating the centre.

Grimstone said he was “delighted at these appointments” to the taskforce, and added he was “looking forward to working with this group of leading experts to support public service leaders to deliver the highest quality services at the best value for money”.

This work is being supported by a joint Cabinet Office and Treasury team, who would welcome input from people who are interested in helping to develop this work, with submissions sought via email to

In an answer to a parliamentary question last December on the costs of the initiative, chief secretary to the Treasury Elizabeth Truss said: “The government will establish a taskforce of outstanding leaders from the public and private sector to advice on the role, remit and responsibilities of the academy.

“The operating model of the academy – including costs – will be determined, in part, by the recommendations of the taskforce. The taskforce will take full consideration of value for money when making design decisions.”

A full list of taskforce members is:

  •     Sir Gerry Grimstone, chairman of Standard Life, and deputy chairman of Barclays
  •     Dame Inga Beale, chief executive, Lloyds of London
  •     Deborah Cadman OBE, chief executive, West Midlands Combined Authority
  •     Peter Cheese, chief executive, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
  •     Tony Danker, chief executive, Productivity Leadership Group
  •     George Freeman MP, Conservative MP
  •     Andrew Haldenby, co-founder of Reform (2001), director since May 2005
  •     David Halpern, chief executive, Behavioural Insights Team
  •     Sandra Kerr, race equality director, Business in the Community
  •     Julian McCrae, senior fellow, Institute for Government
  •     Steve McGuirk, chairman, Warrington and Halton Hospitals Foundation Trust
  •     Charles Mead, director, YSC Consulting
  •     Dame Julie Moore, chief executive, University Hospitals Birmingham
  •     Paul Nowak, deputy general secretary, TUC
  •     Richard Nugee, deputy chief of defence staff
  •     Professor Dame Alison Peacock, chief executive, Chartered College of Teaching
  •     Gillian Stamp, founder, BIOSS
  •     Sara Thornton, head of National Police Chief Council
  •     Sara Weller CBE, non-executive director, Lloyds Banking Group

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