Since the Every Child Matters reforms, Children's Services has been fundamental to how Local Government has been judged. It has been a turbulent few years, with many careers being made (and destroyed) as a result of the inspection regime, media attention, and the constant need to improve services.
Structurally, there was of course a shift towards joining up education with children's social care, but more recently there has been a further amalgamation with adult services in some Authorities - creating huge ‘family' directorates.
The schools agenda has been changing as well over the last 10 years, with schools becoming increasingly autonomous and relying less and less on the Local Authority. This has caused some friction and also uncertainty, as both sides look to redefine the relationship. Huge projects like Building Schools for the Future have come and largely gone, and school re-organisations are a constant feature as Authorities respond to changing populations and demographics.
The pressure on front line social workers has never been greater, as the scrutiny and demands increase. Many are put off by the difficult climate and don't want to take up senior and more accountable roles.
All of the above has huge implications for the recruitment of senior officers. As the senior jobs get broader, are they in fact too big and cumbersome? Where does the professional leadership come in, or are good managers needed? How do organisations get the balance right between ‘interfering' with families, and intervening when needed?
A proven track record
Senior children's services roles are often the most difficult to recruit to of any in the public sector. That said, it is not impossible, and at GatenbySanderson we are proud to have the strongest track record in children's services recruitment. We have recruited to 100s of senor roles over the last few years, from Corporate/Executive Director to Assistant Director and Head of Service posts. We have worked with some of the most difficult contexts as well, for example with Authorities who are in or coming out of Government intervention such as LB Haringey, Doncaster, Salford, Cornwall and Leeds.
Our understanding of the candidate pool, as well as the issues and challenges, means that we can get you the right person - first time.
Social care and education from an interim perspective
There are always recurring and generic issues that are catalysts for interim management requirements, but the social care and education sectors have seen more than their fair share of change and new agendas in recent years. Departures of key staff, sickness, and imminent inspections and interventions will always prompt the need for interim managers.
Within the social care and education sectors there are also other key challenges to service delivery. These have increased the need for strategic advice and operational support from individuals outside the organisation who are experienced in managing major transitional change programmes.
These key challenges to service delivery include:
- Service integration, modernisation and reprovision to bring about profound change
- Supporting the development of innovative approaches to service delivery
- The moving of centralised service structures to area or district models
- Joint commissioning
- Partnering arrangements and collaborative working to bring about sustainable service improvements
- Unitary status
- Outsourcing of in-house services to private and voluntary sector providers
If you would like to learn more about how GatenbySanderson can help you, contact us on Leeds 0113 205 6071, London 020 7426 3960 or Birmingham 0121 644 5700.