Leadership Training For A Common Purpose

'By blurring the boundaries between people, professions, public and private sectors, responsibility and accountability, Common Purpose encourages “graduates” to believe that as new selected leaders, they can work together, outside of the established political and social structures, to achieve a paradigm shift or CHANGE - so called “Leading Beyond Authority”. In doing so, the allegiance of the individual becomes ‘re-framed’ on CP colleagues and their NETWORK' - The Common Purpose Effect.

We commenced this series of articles following the publication of the Jay report into the sexual exploitation of young children in Rotherham 1997 – 2013. That report was damning and informed its readers that:

The Police gave no priority to CSE, regarding many child victims with contempt and failing to act on their abuse as a crime. Further stark evidence came in 2002, 2003 and 2006 with three reports known to the Police and the Council, which could not have been clearer in their description of the situation in Rotherham. The first of these reports was effectively suppressed and the others were ignored and no action was taken to deal with the issues that were identified in them.

We then asked: Is there a provable behind the scenes connection between those leading South Yorkshire Police and Rotherham MBC Officers?

We were alarmed to discover that the Chief Executive, the Strategic Director of Children and Young People’s Services, the Manager for the Local Strategic Partnership, the Community Cohesion Manager, the Cabinet Member for Cohesion, the Chief Constable and his predecessor had all attended Leadership training courses provided by the pseudo-charity Common Purpose.

In a follow up article Rotten to the Core we demonstrated that:

Common Purpose operatives, who are networked to allies in Government Departments and even Parliament itself, now occupy many of the key decision making positions of a sampled selection of the Core Cities Group. The Core Cities Group being a self-selected and self-financed collaborative advocacy group of 10 large regional cities in the UK. The Core Cities project being linked to the United Nations Agenda 21 Sustainable Cities programme and also the Globally interconnected Smart Cities project.

We named this phenomenon the Common Purpose Effect.

In this article of the we ask, what secretive power is directing the training of our 21st Century Leaders?

The Leadership for Change Partnership

The Leadership for Change partnership is a new integrated approach for leaders in public services. As a partnership, the National Skills Academy for Social Care, NHS Leadership Academy, Public Health England, The Leadership Centre and the Virtual Staff College are increasingly coming together to devise and develop national systems leadership programmes which individually and collectively will aim to provide a coherent approach to system leadership development.

Under the website heading 'Learning Centre' we find that "masterclasses" are led by Charles Leadbeater, Helen Bevan, Margaret Heffernan and Margaret Wheatley.

- Charles Leadbeater is an advisor to the Department for Education’s Innovation Unit on future strategies for more networked and personalised approaches to learning and education. He is a long-standing senior research associate with the influential London think-tank Demos and a visiting fellow at Oxford University’s Said Business School and the Young Foundation.

- Helen Bevan is Chief of Service Transformation at the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement. Amongst her publications are: Building and Aligning Energy for Change & 'Towards a Million Change Agents'.

The 'behind the scenes' role of Common Purpose within the NHS is evidenced by reference to the Doncaster NHS Leadership & Talent Management Strategy 2009 - 2011. For example, on page 9, it describes the building of Strategic Alliances via Common Purpose programmes: Focus, Profile, Navigator and 20:20. On Pages 26, 27 & 28 it informs us that Focus is for Directors and Assistant Directors, Profile is pitched at Director level and above, Navigator being for Clinicians and GP's and 20:20 is aimed at Chief Executives and Deputy Chief Executives. A visit to the Wayback Machine proves irrefutable evidence of the link between the NHS - East Midlands Improvement Network and Common Purpose.

In 'The NHS Common Purpose: Towards a Million Change Agents' we drew to public attention the fact that

external executive coaching organisations had been providing NHS training via specialists in Neurolinguistic programming. This included direct evidence of involvement by the organisation NLP life. This organisation includes amongst its trainers Dr. Richard Bandler and stage hypnotist Paul McKenna. Bandler is the Co-Founder of the field of Neuro-Linguistic Programming.

Recent scandals involving the NHS suggest the need for an immediate public inquiry into the impact of such training techniques on both strategic and operational decision making.

- Margaret Heffernan was born in Texas, raised in Holland and educated at Cambridge University. She has published a number of books which include Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at our Peril which was first published in 2011. She was a finalist for the Financial Times/Goldman Sachs Best Business Book award.

We can only wonder if any of the senior officers previously embroiled in the Rotherham Child Sexual Exploitation scandal were familiar with Heffernan's book. We ask this because Paragraph 13.52 Independent Enquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham (1997 - 2013) makes clear that 'the terms used by many people we spoke to about how those in authority (members and some officers) dealt with Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) were 'sweeping it under the carpet', 'turning a blind eye' and 'keeping a lid on it'. [My emphasis]

- Margaret Wheatley is a writer and management consultant specialising in systems thinking, theories of change, chaos theory, leadership and the learning organization. She is the co-­-founder and President of the Berkana Institute. Berkana's most recent work is "Gathering Friends"-­--­-supporting the creation of friendship groups so that we create the conditions to sustain ourselves as warriors for the human spirit.

Perhaps we can better understand her mind-set by reference to a few more examples of her published works. Her most recent book is 'How does the Raven know? Entering Sacred World,  A Meditative Memoir' in which she 'invites you to see the world anew informed not by science but by sacred wisdoms'.

In Leadership In Turbulent Times Is Spiritual (2002) she writes:

We are interconnected to all life. Every spiritual tradition speaks about oneness. So does new science. As leaders, we act on this truth when we're willing to notice how a decision might affect others, when we try and think systemically, when we're willing to look down the road and notice how, at this moment, we might be affecting future generations.

In 'Reclaiming Gaia, Reclaiming Life in The Fabric of the Future' Conari Press, September 1998 she writes:

Throughout all time and in all societies, this goddess of creation has been known. In some cultures she has been honored, in others reviled, but she is always present at the dawn of creation. In Western thought she appears in Hesiod (about 600 B.C.) as Gaia, one among the creation trinity of Chaos and Eros. It is Gaia who reaches into the void that is Chaos and pulls forth life. It is Gaia who works with the creative impulse that is Eros and creates the world. She is the created universe, the mother of all life, the great partner of chaos and creativity. In modern science, she is planet Earth, a living being who creates for herself the conditions that nourish and sustain life. And in this millennial era, Gaia is us. She is the feminine energy that compels us to care about the future of Earth. She is the feminine sensibility that inspires us to dream of harmony among all beings. She is the feminine voice that yearns to speak through us of the law of love.

UK Column researchers have also discovered that Wheatley is a visiting teacher at the Schumacher College, Dartington. Schumacher College is 'an international centre offering transformative learning for sustainable living'. Well known people involved in the 'Dartington Experiment' include: George Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russell, H.G. Wells, Aldous and Julian Huxley, Jonathon Porritt and James Lovelock. Lovelock is best known for proposing the Gaia hypothesis.

Another academic linked with the Schumacher College, Dartington and Social Work is Dr. Julian Manley. He is currently listed as Research Associate, School of Social Work, University of Central Lancashire. In 2000 he trained with the Tavistock Clinic and qualified in organisational consultancy using the ‘Tavistock approach’. He has many years experience in the field of psychosocial studies, and a background in group relations in the Tavistock tradition. In 2007 he was resident at Schumacher College, in Devon. His current fields of interest  include co-operatives and community, climate change and the environment and the socially engaged arts.

The Leadership Centre

The Leadership Centre is funded by the government department for Communities and Local Government. In April 2008 The Leadership Centre acquired charitable status as the Leadership Centre for Local Government. Amongst their eight board Members two have links with Common Purpose: Sir Bob Kerslake (former Head of the Home Civil Service) and Helen Bailey (Chief Operating Officer for Policing in London) and Common Purpose advisory board member London.

Local Leadership Programmes

The Leadership Centre has led a number of large-scale change programmes with local authorities and other organisations. Pioneering programmes in Cumbria, Norfolk and Suffolk paved the way for the Total Place Initiative which was then rolled out in 13 pilots across England.

The pilot areas were: Dorset, Poole & Bournemouth; Kent; Croydon; Lewisham; Luton & Central Bedfordshire; Leicester & Leicestershire; Coventry, Solihull & Warwickshire; Worcestershire; Birmingham; Bradford; Manchester City Region; South Tyneside, Gateshead & Sunderland; Durham.

The Total Place Programme: Birmingham website reported, in 2010, that there was a "Masterclass" - Scaling up Large System Change with Dr Monica Sharma. It was revealed that

One of the Leadership Centre’s key roles is sharing learning and experiences of systemic change work. We are therefore very pleased to invite you to the ‘Scaling up Large System Change’ masterclass to be presented by Dr. Monica Sharma in London in collaboration with Aenas KTC. The class offers colleagues an opportunity to explore whole-system change and gain practical experience from working with a renowned international practitioner and is particularly relevant as we begin to broaden our Total Place approach further across the public sector.

Dr. Sharma is a thought leader and transformational change practitioner. She was previously Director of Leadership and Capacity Development at the United Nations.

According to the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Monica Sharma is "a Practitioner on Leadership Development for Sustainable Change". She works with United Nations, Universities, Management Institutions, governments, business, media and civil society organizations'. The Institute of Noetic Sciences believes that 'consciousness is essential to a paradigm shift that will lead to a more sustainable world'. Furthermore, their vision is to:

help birth a new world-view that recognizes our basic interconnectedness and interdependence and promotes the flourishing of life in all its magnificent forms.

The following individual also links the Leadership Centre to the Tavistock institute.

Phil Swann has extensive experience of local and central government and of policy development, lobbying and governance processes. As director of The Tavistock Institute [my emphasis] he... led a number of projects with and for local government, including work with strategic partnerships and groups of councils and on the future of local government and council performance'. Phil was project director of the Bournemouth, Dorset and Poole Total Place pilot.

The Virtual Staff College

The Virtual Staff College "designs and delivers professional development opportunities for those in leadership positions in local authority children’s services and other principal stakeholders such as HWBs, CCGs and other partners, working in the leadership, management and delivery of services for children, young people and families".

Stakeholders and Partners include

Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) the Association of Directors of Education in Wales (ADEW), the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA), the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES), the Regional Training Unit (RTU) in Northern Ireland, Local Government Improvement and Development (formerly IDeA), the Department for Education, the Welsh Assembly Government and the Scottish Government.

The Society of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (SOLACE) are members of its' Leadership Forum. Included amongst the management board is none other than Alison Michalska, Nottingham City Council’s Corporate Director of Children & Families, a Common Purpose Graduate who featured in our article 'The Nottingham Common Purpose Effect'.

Further links to the United Nations

‘Theory U: Step into the Emerging Future' was a Virtual Staff College Masterclass presented by Martin Kalungu Banda, who trains and coaches businesses, government and civil society leaders in different parts of the world. He also serves as Core-Faculty member and UK Representative of the Presencing Institute, visiting faculty for the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and is a Fellow of Future Considerations.

Future Considerations claim that their 'multi-cultural team bring diverse backgrounds including: leadership development; organisational development and change; personal transformation and coaching; sustainability; multi-stakeholder innovation and cross-sector partnerships. Chillingly they suggest that they

enable people to ‘step beyond positions’ to form new strategic relationships in the pursuit of a common purpose.

We can also reveal that Kalungu Banda trained at the United Nations Staff College, Turin in 1998 and he is a member of the Common Purpose Group: Itijah 2012.

Interestingly, Professor John Adair, Chair of Leadership Studies, United Nations System Staff College, Turin suggests that:

Public leadership programmes should be used selectively. The chief value is to get managers out of their corporate silos [my emphasis] and cross fertilising with managers from a wide variety of organisations. Recommended programmes in this context include those of the Windsor Leadership Trust, the Whitehall and Industry Group, the Campaign for Leadership and Common Purpose.

According to Julia Middleton, CEO Common Purpose, in her book Beyond Authority: Leadership in a Changing World

Many leaders have established their reputation in the internal silo environment of their organisation [my emphasis]. When they extend their leadership role beyond the organisation, Authority and legitimacy are constantly in question. New leaders need to be confident to legitimise themselves and challenge old ways. They need to develop a leadership style that will enable them to lead beyond the traditional boundaries and constraints of the organisation.

And the United Nations Development Group has the following to say about silos

'All of us who are working to bring people, teams, departments, agencies and countries together to advance sustainable development are battling organisational silos that prevent us from creating integrated solutions. We are the Silo Fighters'. [my emphasis]


In the Official Common Purpose Leadership Development video by Ridley Scott, David Bell, Common Purpose trustee said

The view from your office window seldom changes. If we want our leaders to see the bigger picture, they have to go out and see the world through other people's eyes.

But whose eyes should our leaders be looking through. Shouldn't they be the eyes of the hypothetical reasonable man on the Clapham Omnibus? The man who believes that he owes a duty of care to his neighbour and will exercise clear judgement on the issues placed in front of him? In contrast, many of the acts and omissions of our current leaders appear to defy logical explanation. Has 21st Century Leadership training, which potentially has included Neurolinguistic programming, so distorted our leaders, values, beliefs and vision that only a fool would now dare follow them?