Background and overview to the Management & Leadership National Occuptational Standards

The new national occupational standards for management and leadership are the 3rd edition to be produced and are the product of an extensive research project carried out by the Management Standards Centre between 2002 and 2004. They replace the 2nd edition accredited and published in 1997. 
 
The standards are designed to act as a benchmark of best practice. To ensure that they are fit for purpose they were developed using the following steps. 
 
1) A review of the 1997 suite of standards was undertaken with existing users to understand what they liked and disliked about them. This review was also used to identify areas of change in management since 1997. 
 
2) An occupational mapping exercise was undertaken to identify how many managers there are in the UK, in which sectors they operate and how they describe their roles. 
 
3) The 1997 suite of standards was benchmarked against other, more recent, types of occupational standards from both the private, public and voluntary sectors to identify gaps in coverage. This exercise also made use of international benchmarks to try and ensure that the new management and leadership standards were world class. 
 
4) A functional mapping exercise was undertaken which asked individual managers and employers at all levels to identify the functions that managers undertake in the workplace. This led to the development of a purpose statement and functional map. 
 
5) Within each function, areas of competence were identified that would eventually become the units of competence you can view on this website. Consultants working on behalf of the Management Standards Centre worked closely with individual managers, employers and other stakeholders to identify the best practice relating to each function and used this to produce draft units. 
 
6) These draft units were subject to a major UK wide consultation at the beginning of 2004. The feedback from this exercise was used to make amendments to the draft standards. In some instances draft units were expanded. In others units were removed from the suite as they were felt to be too specialised for generalist managers. 
 
The new standards represent a major progression from the 1997 standards as the number of units has been reduced from 77 to 47. This reflects the fact many managers felt that the 1997 suite was too unwieldy to make practical use of and contained large areas of duplication. Reducing the number of units was made possible because many individual managers and employers noted that although managers may operate at different levels the functions that are carried out across those levels do not vary widely. 
 
The other major development is that the standards now include behaviours that underpin effective performance. This is in recognition of feedback from employers that the soft skills which managers bring to their role are as important as the hard technical skills they possess. 
 
Unlike previous versions of the standards it is intended that this suite will be subject to incremental change using feedback collected from new and existing users of the standards. If you have any comments on any aspect of the new standards please let the MSC know via the feedback section of this site.