As directors of children’s services gather at the National Children and Adult Services Conference in Bournemouth on 29th November-1st December 2023, Principal Consultant in our Local Government practice Philip Emms and CEO of The Staff College Jane Parfrement reflect on the achievements of the aspirant DCS programme in The MJ.
With its plethora of statutory responsibilities, the constant apprehension of an Ofsted inspection and, of course, the immeasurable challenge of being responsible for the wellbeing and safety of thousands of children and young people, the role of a DCS is one of the most challenging in local government. This soul-searching question underpins the Aspirant DCS programme, led by The Staff College in consortium with GatenbySanderson, the Institute of Public Care and Skills for Care, to inspire and galvanise a new generation of future leaders.
The aspirant programme has been delivered in various forms for many years, fully funded by the Department of Education, to develop the future leaders of children’s services and equip them with the skills required to become a DCS. While the programme offers no guarantee that participants will be appointed to a DCS position there is a high correlation, with 48% of serving DCS having completed the programme.
Since 2020, 11% of individuals who completed or are currently completing the programme have already been appointed as a DCS.
Feedback from the programme suggests that through applied and reflective learning, participants can accelerate their understanding of the role and better prepare themselves to undertake what is one of the most important roles in local government.