Managing at the Top II programme - a woman standing among a group of seated people
A woman standing among a group of seated people ©

British Council Bangladesh: photographer Colin Jacobs

Clients Department for International Development (DFID)
Value £8.2 million
2007 to 2013
Country Bangladesh

As part of the Managing at the Top II programme, we supported the establishment of a competent and reform minded civil service in Bangladesh, capable of developing and delivering pro-poor and inclusive services. 

Working with the Ministry of Public Administration and the Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre, we focused on strengthening the knowledge and capacity of civil servants through the creation and implementation of a sustainable training programme.

Experiential Learning

A new training curriculum was developed for civil servants, based on an experiential learning approach and focusing on performance improvement. Over 1,750 senior civil servants, 15 per cent of whom were women, undertook an eight-week training programme, followed by a six-month team project focusing on poverty reduction. Key elements of the new approach were also integrated into existing specialised management courses.

Influencing pro-poor reform Over 150 team projects, focusing on pro-poor reform, were implemented by training participants in the areas of health, education, the environment and human resources. Many of these projects have been replicated and are now informing national strategies, leading to overall innovation in the civil service.

The development of trainers

Over 50 staff at the Bangladesh Public Administration Training Centre – the main civil service college in Bangladesh – were introduced to Experiential Learning techniques, leading to the establishment of a pool of skilled trainers capable of delivering the training programme in the future. An institutional strategy was also developed and implemented at the college.

Appraisal and career tracking 

An open appraisal system was developed and piloted at the Ministry of Public Administration and is now being rolled out across the whole civil service. A modern management information system was introduced to track the career development of civil servants, focusing on skills, qualifications and performance.


‘The programme has created a strong and firm impact…creating a pool of secretaries and other senior civil servants that no other staff development programme has achieved.’

Iqbal Mahmood, Secretary, Ministry of Public Administration


'I have seen a change in the way in which officers engage. They think in a different way…valuing the demand side and mixing with people and understanding citizen needs.'

Abdul Azis, Cabinet Secretary, Government of Bangladesh.