Professional Skills for Government – Case study: Zaara

Case study: Zaara

Last updated - 15th January 2009


PSG assessment

Zaara joined the Service as an HEO(D) in a department delivering services direct to the public. She was managed through a 3-4 year development and training programme during which time she managed a front-line office and had a posting in HR.

Early foundation in operational delivery

Whilst completing her Fast Stream training Zaara completed modular training in:

  • Programme and Project Management
  • Finance
  • People Management
  • Strategy
  • Economics

During her time as a front line office manager Zaara developed her leadership and management competences with the help of some specific coaching.

Development of core skills in PPM, finance, people management and analysis. Early foundation in core SCS skill of strategic thinking

Development of leadership and management competences

Zaara was promoted to grade 7 as a delivery manager, her chosen career path decided by her mix of skills, experience and a discussion with her department’s Operational Head of Profession. She was a grade 7 operational delivery manager for 2½ years.

This was followed by a posting to a policy team as a delivery ‘expert’ to help develop thinking about options for reform.

Selection of career ‘family’

Further deepening of job-related professional expertise 

Policy delivery experience

Zaara was then seconded to a large retail organisation where she worked in customer relations. After a year, she returned to the Service and further training in leadership and management. During this time Zaara completed her part time MBA.

Her next position was running a large area function in her parent department and advising on a large policy area.

Broader experience in the private sector; development of core SCS skill in communications & marketing

Development of leadership competences and core skills


Upon her return from maternity leave, Zaara went through the SCS assessment process. With her core experience in operational delivery, proven leadership and management competence, broader experience in the private sector and knowledge of core skills developed through her MBA, she was appointed to the SCS to run a large new delivery project.

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