‘Creative leadership’ needed in era of cuts, says Clore Social Leadership director

‘Creative leadership’ needed in era of cuts, says Clore Social Leadership director


Against a background of government funding cuts, leadership in social purpose organisations is more important than ever, says Dame Mary Marsh, director of The Clore Social Leadership Programme, which last week announced the appointment of 16 Clore Social Fellows for 2011.

The Programme, now in its second year, seeks to identify, connect and develop future leaders of the social sector, at a time when the challenges for charities, social enterprises and community organisations have never been greater, it says.

Dame Mary Marsh spoke to Philanthropy UK about the critical need for good, strong leadership in social purpose organisations today and the opportunities the programme delivers to funders and participants.

She says: “There is no doubt the cuts will have consequences for organisations across the UK and will present challenges. Now, more than ever, there is a need for confident and effective leadership in order that the right decisions within organisations can be made. We hear a lot that organisations are going to have to do ‘more with less’, but I think that is not the way to look at it. Rather, organisations are going to have to find new ways to do things and take some risks – they cannot simply retrench and carry on as they did. They might need to look at social finance or earned revenue, for instance, as ways to supplement the crucial funding that has now become critical.

So today’s leaders will have to be tough and more resilient, while being thoughtful and creative. At a senior executive level there is a particular role in setting the direction of an organisation and to keep the focus on that direction, while enabling others to contribute to it. Leaders will need to collaborate and build partnerships, while demonstrating particular skill sets and specialist knowledge,” says Dame Mary.

“I also believe decisions will have to be made more quickly and less consensually, so there must be confidence in leaders’ capabilities. Leaders will need to earn the trust of both funders and those who work with them. Credibility is key.

But can leadership be ‘taught’?

Dame Mary explains: “It’s not a case of teaching but developing leadership in each individual. Every Fellow undertakes a ‘leadership journey’. All have different strengths and lead differently and the programme helps each recognise their strengths and potential and helps them understand how best to use and develop them.

The course offers a 360 degree review of each participant, expert coaching and mentoring, the scope to undertake a research topic, and a discretionary budget for Fellows to buy in the specialist training they feel they need, as well as a £20,000 bursary, made to them or their employers to fund their part-time release.

The inspiration for the course, which is based on the original Clore Leadership Programme for the cultural sector that began in 2003, is to develop leadership from within the sector and fill the vacuum that exists.

Growing leaders within a sector is something big private firms such as Deloitte, already see the value in. While it is good to have senior managers enter from other sectors and cross-pollinate ideas, that is not all we want or need,” explains Mary.

The Programme has attracted funding from a wide range of foundations and trusts and corporate partners, building on the core investment by the Clore Duffield Foundation to fund each of the £45,000 places. Other funders for 2011 are the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Deloitte, NESTA, The Monument Trust, The Pears Foundation, The Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Resolution Trust, RNIB and Capacitybuilders.
Funders see the value in the programme. They get it. They want to see better leadership in the sector in order that they can invest further in it,” says Dame Mary.

This year, through a rigorous two stage review process and an interview round, 93 applicants were whittled down to the final 16 who will take their places in January 2011.

 The 2011 Clore Social Fellows are:

  • Yaseer Ahmed, chief officer at the Bolton Council of Mosques and Non-Executive Director, Royal Bolton NHS.
  • Jamie Audsley, schools co-ordinator, Citizens UK.
  • Dan Berelowitz, director, Tzedek, the UK’s Jewish community’s response to extreme poverty.
  • Natalie Campbell, interim head of Digital for Enterprise UK.
  • Ruth Campbell, director of Comas, a community development organisation based in Scotland.
  • Mary Duffy, assistant director, Research and Influencing, Barnardo’s.
  • Esther Foreman, manager, Policy and Campaigns teams, Mencap.
  • Beth Green, assistant director of operations, The Children’s Society.
  • Richard Holmes, service manager for Study Support and Play for Success, Gloucester County Council.
  • Caroline Huntley, employment development Officer, RNIB
  • Laura Hyde, director of services at King’s College London Students Union.
  • Alison Kaye, director of the London Work Based Learning Alliance.
  • Mark Richardson, business development manager, Dwyfor Coffee Company, fair trade coffee supplier in Wales.
  • Kate Stanley, deputy director of the Institute for Public Policy Research.
  • Jonathan Taylor, Director of Finance and Resources, Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
  • Jacqueline Williamson, head of fundraising and development, First Housing Aid and Support Service, Northern Ireland.

Visit www.cloresocialleadership.org.uk