The Association of Chief Executives (ACE) is an independent member-led organisation, which exists to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the delivery of public services in the United Kingdom. 

ACE is open to Chief Executives and Senior Managers of government Executive Agencies, Trading Funds, Non-Departmental Public Bodies and Non-Ministerial Departments. Top managers within related government funded organisations can apply for membership but are subject to the approval of the ACE Executive Board. ACE promotes effective government and provides networking and learning opportunities for its members.

Offer of reduced subscription!

The Association of Chief Executives is offering organisations that have not been a member of ACE in the past three years discounted membership, from £695 down to £500.  Membership includes the opportunity for both the Chief Executive and up to six of their direct reports to attend events and participate in our work throughout the year. For further information, please contact secretariat@associationofchiefexecutives.org.uk


Throughout the year ACE organises a number of networking events including discussion forums with key civil servants, seminars on current topics and regional member meet member social events.


ACE provides it Members with opportunities to attend free or subsidised learning and development events throughout the membership year. We also publish ACE Reporter, which provides members with best practice exchanges and information on new innovations.



  • Rebecca Hilsenrath, Chief Executive, Equality and Human Rights Commission

    Getting involved in ACE has allowed me to network with my peers, share learning opportunities, access relevant and influential speakers and identify shared challenges. It provides, at a stroke, access to a range of individuals who are perfectly placed to provide help and support in the fields of policy, strategy and leadership and has helped me to develop a broader national perspective and to prevent insularity of approach. It’s also enjoyable and companionable. Any CEO role is absorbing and time-consuming and it’s easy to de-prioritise peer networking. The truth is that you don’t appreciate the value added until you do it. I wish I’d done it a lot earlier.

  • Peter J Lawrence OBE, Chief Executive, Civil Service Commission

    The range of events is constantly changing and keeping pace with what is happening around us and the public bodies we lead. Hearing the views and thoughts of Ministers, Chairs of Parliamentary Committees and the most senior civil servants helps me to better understand where and how my organisation can have a positive impact. Listening to the approaches, successes, risks and concerns of other chief executives helps me to avoid some pitfalls and to utilise some best practice where I can. The events are relatively short and so can be fitted in to busy diaries more easily than whole day sessions. Importantly, opportunities for networking either side of the main content are also available. I have found membership of ACE to be very worthwhile, excellent value for the low financial and time cost.

  • Martin Jones, Chief Executive, The Parole Board ACE – a calm port in stormy seas…

    Being Chief Executive of an organisation that is on the front pages of the newspapers, being hotly debated in Parliament and trending on twitter creates real challenges. At times, it has felt like being a cork in rough seas. Being a leader at such times can be lonely; and requires resilience; to ensure that the organisation reacts in a measured way; tackling areas for improvement; but also maintaining a focus on delivery and upholding morale. So where do leaders of public bodies go for support before, during, and after, such challenges? I followed an excellent recommendation and have found it to be a safe port in stormy weather.

    I would strongly recommend membership of ACE for senior leaders of public bodies:

    • engage with other senior leaders and share experiences:
    • hear from a fantastic range of expert speakers;
    • organisations benefit from the learning from bodies right across the public service
    • the opportunity to talk to, and influence those at the very top of Government.
  • Graham Farrant, Former Chief Executive and Chief Land Registrar, HM Land Registry What has ACE ever done for me?

    One of the challenges of running an arm’s-length body is how to keep in contact with governments’ policy machine and how to keep informed about what is happening right across the world of government at the highest levels. ACE gives me a good window onto the opportunities that we all have to work more efficiently and in line with the current political and civil service-wide priorities of the day. Insight is important, but the day-job leaves little space for wider reflections about how government works and how to get the best from the opportunities and connections that we all have.

    Our regular meetings also give me access to talk to fellow chief executives from across government, in a forum in which we can explore common issues and interests that affect us all. We have moved well beyond the stage of all complaining about the restraints of the controls framework and into constructive discussions about solutions to problems we face. We can learn across the whole spectrum of arm’s-length bodies and I have made a number of contacts that have helped HM Land Registry to work more efficiently and more productively by taking those conversations forward outside of the meetings.

    Personal development is key to enabling us to access more and better opportunities, both as individuals and as leaders of great organisations providing essential public services. ACE enables me to maximise those development opportunities and hear views that add value to my work and my personal development.


ACE was formed to provide a support network for senior management within UK government arm's length bodies who between them employ 85% of the UK civil service, our network is regarded as an essential support package for top managers within government.



  • June 26 2020

    • NEW BLOG: Diversity Adds Value to the Workplace


A number of resources are available to ACE members, these can include Cabinet Office reports, ACE newsletters, the latest updates on civil service reform and any relevant case studies.