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Apply to join the academy

Participants usually join the academy as part of a small group from each organisation with at least one person at director or assistant director level (local government), SCS1 or deputy director level (central government) or equivalent, accompanied by two to four colleagues. This will enable them to learn together and work as a team to apply their new thinking to their organisation’s commissioning practice. We will consider individual applications in exceptional cases.

Candidate organisations should be leading innovation in commissioning services for the public by challenging existing delivery models. Each cohort will have a mix of different sector groups, covering cross-cutting themes.

People applying should be making changes in commissioning outcomes, leading culture change and learning from others. They will make good use of the support available to them and be willing to commit the time.

Applications must be supported by a senior sponsor such as the council chief executive or civil service director general.

Results and impact

Each participating organisation will implement a 100-day plan, developed during the programme, to improve commissioning practice.

All participants will also join an alumni network, giving them access to a supportive group of peers who will share experience and help each other deal with new challenges.

Participants and alumni are already sharing commissioning models and methodologies. Organisations are identifying opportunities to work better across boundaries with peers in their cohort and discussing proposals for joining up central and local government. The network of contacts is building and participants are using and adapting materials to share with colleagues and to develop their own staff.

Feedback from participants

Feedback already received from participants has included positive comments on the:

  • enthusiasm and honesty of the speakers
  • unique opportunity to hear theory alongside practical examples
  • wealth of experience, issues and challenges that those involved bring
  • most up to date thinking from government departments
  • value of real-life examples and the chance to have more in-depth conversations with providers
  • usefulness of seeing commissioning from the leadership, commissioner and provider perspective

Costs and how to apply

Please note the next wave of the National Academy will commence on the 26th January 2017 and the deadline for applications is the Friday 16th December. Places are limited, so to be sure of your place we encourage you to apply early.

The main cost to participants is the commitment of their time to attend the whole programme.

Organisations will need to cover:

  • a contribution of £2,000 per participant to the costs of the five day programme
  • travel and expense
  • Local academies and those tailored to specific sectors are available – contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for details.

You can now apply to join future cohorts. Click here to download an application form

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