Sally Bacon, executive director of the foundation, said: “People have been very supportive of it. We haven’t had anyone saying that it’s not a good idea.”
The proposal has also attracted the backing of the Prime Minister. Gordon Brown wrote to the foundation to say that the idea “would be a tremendous boost both to the sector and to society as a whole”.
The programme would be based on the model of the Clore Duffield Foundation’s leadership programme for the cultural sector, which provides tailored support to potential leaders over a one to two-year period. This includes residential courses, professional development and secondment to another organisation.
“This is not about existing leaders, but about talent-spotting that delivers sustainable training over a long period,” said Bacon.
The consultation runs until October. If the foundation’s trustees give the go-ahead, a detailed blueprint will be produced by the end of the year, with plans for a separate organisation with its own staff, premises and governance that will be established in summer 2008 and will be open for applications in early 2009.
The foundation has appointed a steering group including Baroness Julia Neuberger, Liberal Democrat whip in the Lords and special adviser to the Government on volunteering, and Thomas Hughes-Hallet, chief executive of Marie Curie Cancer Care, to oversee the project.
The programme was the idea of philanthropist Dame Vivien Duffield, chair of the Clore Duffield Foundation.