My candidate statement for the Future Leaders Scheme (FLS)

5 min readNov 5, 2018


The Future Leaders Scheme (FLS) is one of the Civil Service Talent Schemes, aimed at Grade 6/7 civil servants. You can read more in this blog post, these FAQs or via Civil Service Learning. It’s ‘designed to give civil servants who show high potential targeted development in areas such as leadership, commercial knowledge, and project management, so that they can get experience and insight into the skills they will need to become the leaders of the future’.

After a four year hiatus, I returned to the Civil Service in November 2017 and applied for the FLS for the first time this year. Since putting in my application, I’ve become acting Deputy Director (of the Data-Driven Department and Culture Change team), and I’m experiencing the SCS for myself at the moment.

I was umming and ahhing about applying to the FLS, then saw this tweet from CS Talent that 1,500 people had applied, so obviously my imposter syndrome took over. Thankfully, the wonderful DavidBuck tweeted this which was exactly what I need to spur me on.

I put my application in, and want to be open about how I answered the questions in my candidate statement. I’ve been meaning on publishing this for a while — NaBloPoMo has given me the drive to do it.

James Arthur Cattell has already published his, and (as the leader we already know him to be) bought a bunch of us FLS applicants together to share in the experience together. ❤

  • Please outline your reasons for applying for the Future Leaders Scheme:

I’m proud to be a Civil Servant, driven by helping people and creating a government that works for everyone. My ambition is to be part of the SCS that leads our future Civil Service. I am applying for the Future Leaders Scheme to accelerate me onto the next stage of my leadership journey.

I want join the FLS to meet new people from different departments and be part of a network of emerging senior leaders. I would use the FLS as an opportunity to learn from and with my peers, share ideas and seek opportunities for collaboration. I have also worked in the private and voluntary sector and know I have experiences and skills that make me different. I want learn from others who have taken a more traditional career path and share my experiences.

It’s important to me to challenge myself and invest in my personal development, because my leadership style, strengths and weaknesses have an impact on the teams I lead and the outcomes I deliver. I always want to keep learning, reflecting and improving. I know the FLS will make a difference in my life, and allow me to make a greater difference in the lives of others.

  • Please share with us how you have developed your career and how you propose to continue to develop in order to achieve your potential

I struggled at school but grew in the side-projects I created and always take a proactive approach to my learning/development which I’ve brought into every workplace. I create new opportunities for myself and accept every opportunity that comes my way.

I joined the Civil Service in 2008 and am proud to have progressed my career through the grades. I have a decade of experience in leading digital transformation, data innovation, leadership and culture change projects. I’ve been awarded the Chief Constable’s commendation three times and delivered two Prime Ministerial commitments to publish open crime and justice data.

I took a career break from the Civil Service, and led European research projects, trained senior public leaders from over 30 countries, and implemented strategies for private sector CEOs. I was the first winner of the Bloomberg Open Technology award from HRH Princess Royal.

I’ve become an accredited trainer and in my spare time I coach young women, deliver talks and mentor startups. I support meet-ups and government communities, such as UKGovCamp, OneTeamGov.

My proudest achievement since returning to the Civil Service is a Leadership programme endorsed by our Permanent Secretary that my Deputy Director and I co-designed and delivered to all MOJ SCS. I’m developing a network for women to practice public speaking, and chairing a working group to radically improve organisational culture, as I feel passionately about developing the careers of others whilst developing my own.

  • What do you do to ensure that you are the best Civil Service leader that you can be and why?

I value openness in all forms and it underpins my approach to being the best Civil Service leader I can be. Being open matters to me because it creates new relationships, connects us to our users, builds empathy, trust and confidence, and helps us to get better at everything we do.

I am open as a leader with the decisions I make, open to change and feedback, openly share the work I’m involved in and listen to the public and our stakeholders every step of the way. I’m naturally collaborative, not competitive, and as a leader I always seek the contributions of others.

I build diverse teams and strive to create an open and inclusive culture. I set a vision and goals but give my team the freedom to design the solution that delivers the result. I work closely with users so we can understand what works and what doesn’t. I create relationships with external organisations to align goals and do more to create impact in a world where we have less and have to be more efficient.

I’m curious and observe how others lead, as well as embracing my own vulnerability and sharing my weaknesses, so that I can get feedback to continuously develop as a leader.

So what’s the latest? Well I had my FLS interview on the 29th October, and I’ll share my reflections of that (and the rest of the experience so far) in a later blog post. All FLS applicants are due to hear back late November/early December.




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