What is the Deputies leadership program?

Resilience, integrity and effectiveness: these leadership qualities have been put under a microscope in today’s COVID-affected public sector, one which is characterised by volatile and uncertain conditions. Performance expectations are high, and not always easy to define or discern, and accountability and public scrutiny is increasing.

But the role of public sector Deputy leaders has always been complex and challenging. Deputies are responsible for significant budget, policy, service and people leadership, but also share accountability for their organisation’s success and have stewardship obligations that extend to the broader sector.

Deputies operate at the political-administrative interface, which is changing dramatically as shifts in the style and conduct of politics and government collide with a growing menu of complex, tough and urgent public problems.

Deputies also need to be able to confidently lead in a digital-focussed environment which demands effective use of digital, data and design tools as well as mindsets for policy, regulation and service delivery outcomes patterned increasingly by empathy, competence and trust.

This program will challenge Deputies in the early stages of their role to explore all aspects of responsibilities specific to this role, stretch their thinking about effective performance and as individuals and a cohort, achieve and share insights for impact and influence.

The new program has been designed by co-directors Kathryn Anderson and Martin Stewart-Weeks, who bring strong practical experience as well as leading contemporary theory about public sector leadership.

Who is it for?

This program is designed for Deputies of public sector organisations across Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand and is tailored to early stage Deputies of departments and statutory entities, rather than those who are more experienced at that level.

It is designed to support the successful transition of senior executives to Deputy level and equip participants with tools to make them more flexible and effective in their roles.

Why should I choose the Deputies leadership program?

The Deputies leadership program grounds contemporary academic thinking on public administration with lived experience leading at Deputy level. The program presenters bring a complementary set of skills, backgrounds and approaches and the course aims to provide you with an exciting synergy between academia and practice.

The opportunity to be part of a network of high performing Deputies across Australia and Aotearoa-New Zealand is a key feature of this program. Participants will develop a deeper understanding of what is required to excel as Deputies, and a clear sense of what CEOs, Secretaries and equivalents need and want from them.

Participants will grow their understanding of themselves - their leadership styles, their drivers and their aspirations – and build resilience to lead with integrity.

What will I learn?

Throughout the Deputies leadership program you will:

  • develop a more fulsome understanding of the specific nature and expectations of the Deputy role
  • deepen your understanding of contemporary public sector challenges and directions (including the impact of a changing environment on issues like trust, respect and effective collaboration with Ministers and ministerial staff), and implications for leadership during and post-COVID-19
  • strengthen your approaches to building trust through collaboration and stakeholder engagement
  • grow confidence in leading for, with and in digital government
  • develop techniques to build resilience and lead with integrity.

Who will lead this program?

The program will be jointly led by Kathryn Anderson and Martin Stewart-Weeks.

Kathryn Anderson served as a Deputy Secretary in two departments in the Victorian Public Service, and has worked across jurisdictions in policy, program and corporate roles. She is now a Partner at Cube Group, a consultancy working exclusively with the public purpose sector. Kathryn is a Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration (IPAA) Victoria.

Martin Stewart-Weeks has been a Ministerial Chief of Staff, public servant in Canberra and Sydney and an advisor, facilitator and writer at the intersection of policy, public sector management and leadership and technology for the past 30 years. He held executive roles in the innovation and strategy group at Cisco Systems and is the founder and principal of Public Purpose Pty Ltd. With Simon Cooper, Martin is the co-author of Are We There Yet? The Digital Transformation of Government and the Public Sector in Australia (Longueville Media, 2019)


The program will be delivered virtually over four months and is designed to enable participants to learn from each other's experiences and challenges. It will be highly interactive, with small group discussions forming a central part of the program delivery.


  • Orientation session: Thursday 18 November, 12pm-3pm AEDT
  • Module 1: Thursday 25 and Friday 26 November 2021
  • Module 2: Wednesday 2 February 2022
  • Module 3: Thursday 24 and Friday 25 February 2022

Cost: $16,000 AUD, excl GST

Applications close on Friday 5 November 2021. Please note, places are limited to 25. This program features a nomination process to allow for a good jurisdictional spread of participants. Deputies are encouraged to nominate using the button below. ANZSOG will be working with agency heads, CEOs, Secretaries and equivalents to encourage nominations. 

While course material will be provided to participants who wish to dive more deeply into topics canvassed, the program design recognises the time constraints facing Deputies and will not rely on extensive pre-session work.


Got a question?

If you have a question, please contact ANZSOG's Program Delivery team with the program name as the subject line to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call us on +61 3 8344 1984.