Volcker Alliance Next Generation Skills – Academic and Professional Context

… a resource in the Competencies database

Click for pdf of Report

Comparing the Next Generation Specific Skills with typologies of skills and knowledge derived from MPP/MPA curricula and from government standards

In 2018 the Volcker Alliance published Preparing for Tomorrow’s Public Service – What the Next Generation Needs (reference below, pdf on right).

The 56-page report reviews the increasingly complex conditions of the public sector and presents the following summary recommendations (Executive Summary, p. 2)for government and for higher education and training organizations:

  • Stakeholders are encouraged to help rising leaders join networks of peers and find mentors, while paying better attention to burnout and development opportunities aimed specifically at promoting resilience.
  • Agency and professional association leaders are encouraged to codevelop assessments of public service motivation and leadership aptitude, as well as career-stage learning rubrics that can be developed to help supervisors guide rising leaders on a successful career path.
  • Educational institutions and training providers are also urged to incorporate more field-based components into curricula and partner with government and professional associations to develop scalable professional education offerings that align with the priority competency areas.

This page focuses on only one aspect of the report – the specific skills that are identified and how they relate to the typologies of skills, knowledge, and competencies that can be derived from the curricula of MPP and MPA programs and those that have been developed by two governments (those for the Senior Executive Service in the U.S. and those for the policy profession in the U.K.).

The Next Generation Specific Skills

The project developed a list “specific skills” (that we will refer to as “Next Generation Specific Skills”) under five “competency areas.” The typology drew on the project team’s discussions with the academics and practitioners as described on page 1 of the report:

“In collaboration with experts from higher education, government agencies, professional associations, and other civic organizations, the Volcker Alliance set out to develop a study seeking to strengthen the public service by shedding light on two critical questions:

1. What skills and competencies do rising government leaders believe are most important for effectiveness in their jobs today and in the future?

2. What educational and professional development programs can help them as they prepare for leadership in government?

A unique contribution of this report is the input, through focus groups and a survey, of nearly 1,000 rising leaders from all levels of government who reflected on the capabilities most critical to their work and how they prefer to learn. This information is paired with interviews of senior experts in government and educational institutions to explore current leaders’ perspectives on how we can best prepare for the future. We hope this study advances an important conversation about how we can continue to uphold America’s public service legacy.”

The competency areas and specific skills are reproduced in Table 1 below.

Table 1: Next Generation Specific Skills
organized under five Competency Areas

Public Sector
Competency Areas

Managing Your Team and Yourself

Helping your team to find purpose and be motivated

Gaining buy-in from your colleagues and supervisors

Persevering in the face of adverse situations

Responding to the Public

Fostering a culture of responsive service to the public

Seeking out and considering a wide range of citizen voices

Honing your message for the public

Navigating the Broader Environment

Gaining buy-in from other governmental agencies or entities

Maintaining integrity in a highly partisan environment

Honing your message to advise elected officials effectively

General Management
Competency Areas

Data and Technological Tools

Proficiency with basic quantitative analysis

Keeping up to date on research and technology innovations relevant to your work

Advancing data-based decision-making

Proficiency in collecting and cleaning data

Creating data visualizations

Advanced data analytics

Business Acumen

Budgetary/financial management acumen

Project and timeline management skills

Effective written communication

Effective oral communication

Negotiation skills

It can be seen that the Next Generation Specific Skills include some that are new and specialized (e.g., creating data visualizations) and some that are traditional and general (e.g., effective oral communication). How do they compare with those in other typologies of skills, knowledge and competencies?

How to the Next Generation Specific Skills align with teaching subjects in MPP and MPA programs?

Table 2 aligns the Next Generation Specific Skills with the Atlas core subjects. As described in Core Curriculum, the specification of Atlas core subjects draws on on NASPAA Competencies and UNDESA/IASIA Standards, as well as the syllabi of required courses in the four Reference Programs and syllabi of additional Specimen Courses.

Table 2: Aligning Next Generation Specific Skills
with the Atlas core subjects
Quantitative Methods

Proficiency with basic quantitative analysis

Advanced data analytics

Proficiency in collecting and cleaning data

Creating data visualizations

Analytic Methods

Advancing data-based decision-making

Keeping up to date on research and technology innovations relevant to your work

Evaluation and Performance Measurement
Economic Analysis
Macroeconomic Policy
Environment and Sustainability
Policy Analysis and Process

Honing your message to advise elected officials effectively

Implementation and Delivery

Gaining buy-in from other governmental agencies or entities

Seeking out and considering a wide range of citizen voices

Fostering a culture of responsive service to the public

Honing your message for the public

Governance and Institutions
Ethics, Rights, and Accountability

Maintaining integrity in a highly partisan environment

Socioeconomic and Political Context
Global Context
Leadership Skills

Helping your team to find purpose and be motivated

Gaining buy-in from your colleagues and supervisors

Persevering in the face of adverse situations

Negotiation skills

Communication Skills

Effective written communication

Effective oral communication

Public Financial Management

Budgetary/financial management acumen

Human Resource Management
Information and Technology Management

Table 2 suggests that the core subjects in MPP and MPA programs should be well placed to teach the Next Generation Specific Skills. It also suggests that the core courses of MPP and MPA programs aim to teach a substantially broader range of skills and knowledge than the Next Generation Specific Skills.

How to the Next Generation Specific Skills align with the SES Executive Core Competencies?

Table 3 aligns the Next Generation Specific Skills with the SES Executive Core Competencies.

Table 3: Aligning the Next Generation Specific Skills
with the SES Executive Core Competencies

Fundamental Competencies

Interpersonal Skills

Gaining buy-in from your colleagues and supervisors

Oral Communication

Effective oral communication

Integrity/Honesty

Maintaining integrity in a highly partisan environment

Written Communication

Effective written communication

Continual Learning
Public Service Motivation

Fostering a culture of responsive service to the public

ECQ1 Leading Change

Creativity and Innovation
External Awareness

Gaining buy-in from other governmental agencies or entities

Flexibility
Resilience

Persevering in the face of adverse situations

Strategic Thinking
Vision

ECQ2 Leading People

Conflict Management
Leveraging Diversity
Developing Others
Team Building

Helping your team to find purpose and be motivated

ECQ3 Results Driven

Accountability
Customer Service

Seeking out and considering a wide range of citizen voices

Honing your message for the public

Decisiveness
Entrepreneurship
Problem Solving

Proficiency with basic quantitative analysis

Advancing data-based decision-making

Proficiency in collecting and cleaning data

Creating data visualizations

Advanced data analytics

Technical Credibility

Keeping up to date on research and technology innovations relevant to your work

ECQ4 Business Acumen

Financial Management

Budgetary/financial management acumen

Project and timeline

Human Capital Management
Technology Management

ECQ5 Building Coalitions

Partnering
Political Savvy

Honing your message to advise elected officials effectively

Influencing/Negotiating

Negotiation skills

 

Table 3 suggests that the Next Generation Specific Skills should fit quite comfortably within the SES Executive Core Competencies. It also suggests that SES Executive Core Competencies require a substantially broader range of skills and knowledge than the Next Generation Specific Skills.

How to the Next Generation Specific Skills align with skills set out in the UK policy profession standards?

Table 4 aligns the Next Generation Specific Skills with the areas of competence developed for the policy profession by the British government in UK Policy Profession Standards 2019.

Table 4: Aligning the Next Generation Specific Skills
with the competency areas in the UK policy profession standards

Analysis and Use
of Evidence

Knowledge of Policy Making in your Policy Area
Statistics and Data Analysis

Proficiency with basic quantitative analysis

Keeping up to date on research and technology innovations relevant to your work

Advancing data-based decision-making

Proficiency in collecting and cleaning data

Creating data visualizations

Advanced data analytics

Policy Framing
Economics
Science, Technology, and Evidence
Futures, Foresight and Horizon Scanning

Politics and
Democracy

Advising, Briefing and Drafting

Effective written communication

Effective oral communication

Gaining buy-in from other governmental agencies or entities

Honing your message to advise elected officials effectively

Working with the Parliament

Maintaining integrity in a highly partisan environment

Finance

Budgetary/financial management acumen

Stakeholder Engagement

Seeking out and considering a wide range of citizen voices

Fostering a culture of responsive service to the public

Honing your message for the public

Devolution
Working Internationally and Exiting the European Union

Policy
Delivery

Understanding the Delivery Context and Effective Implementation Planning

Gaining buy-in from your colleagues and supervisors

Programme and Project Management

Project and timeline

Commercial
Evaluation
User Centred Design, Digital and Behavioural Insights
Communicating with Influence

Helping your team to find purpose and be motivated

Persevering in the face of adverse situations

Negotiation skills

Table 4 suggests that the Next Generation Specific Skills should fit quite comfortably within the Policy Profession Standards. It also suggests that Policy Profession Standards require a substantially broader range of skills and knowledge than the Next Generation Specific Skills.

References

The Volcker Alliance (2018). Preparing Tomorrow’s Public Service – What the Next Generation Needs, at https://www.volckeralliance.org/publications/preparing-tomorrows-public-service, accessed 26 February 2020.

Page created by: Ian Clark, last modified 27 February 2020.

Image: Image from The Volcker Alliance (2018). Preparing Tomorrow’s Public Service – What the Next Generation Needs, at https://www.volckeralliance.org/publications/preparing-tomorrows-public-service, accessed 26 February 2020.