The MSC is the Government recognised standards setting body for the management and leadership areas.

National Occupational Standards

The National Occupational Standards for management and leadership are statements of best practice which outline the performance criteria, related skills, knowledge and understanding required to effectively carry out various management and leadership functions.

The standards describe the activities/functions of management and leadership at various levels of responsibility and complexity. Therefore, they are relevant to anyone for whom management and leadership is, to a greater or lesser extent, part of their work. This applies to managers and leaders in all sizes and types of organisation, and in all industries and sectors.

Background to the standards

The 2008 revised suite of National Occupational Standards for Management and Leadership are a revision of the 2004 management and leadership standards. There are a number of significant amendments, enhancements and additions, which reflect changes in working practice and incorporate feedback from users of the earlier management standards. 

In particular, whilst still reflecting the core functions of management, these revised standards place greater emphasis on aspects of work which have gained significance in recent years, for example in the areas of:

          • Leadership
          • Customer service
          • Knowledge management
          • Procurement 
          • Managing redundancy

Minor amendments have been made to a significant number of units to take account of the following issues that have become incresaingly important since 2004 due to change in Government legislation, cultural and environmental development, and technological advances:

          • Ageism
          • Cultural awareness
          • Diversity and inclusion
          • EU impact and regulations
          • Globalisation
          • International benchmarking
          • Managing diverse teams
          • Managing growth
          • Managing remote teams
          • Managing without power
          • Managing your boss
          • Matrix management
          • Sustainability

Full wheel image of standards


The structure of the standards has also been developed with the aim of making the standards more concise and accessible, to encourage their use in a wide variety of settings.  Therefore, while these standards will continue to provide a framework for the development of qualifications, they have also been designed to support a wide range of human resource management and development purposes.

Funded and recognised by the UK standards programme, they are an indispensable resource for every single manager, leader and organisation in the UK.