All Locations
Dorchester
Advertising SalarySalary Details:
£134,112 - £150,628
What is the vacancy type for this advertVacancy Type:
Permanent
Function:
Leadership
EmployerEmployer:
Dorset Council
Job Working PatternJob Working Pattern:
Full time
Closing time of advertClosing time of advert
23:59

About The Role

Join us at Dorset Council’s Children’s Services during this exciting time of growth and innovation and make a tangible difference to the lives of Dorset’s children, young people, and families.  

What’s in it for you: 

We are dedicated to ensuring all children in Dorset thrive, are happy, and reach their full potential. As Executive Director of Children’s Services, you’ll lead our mission to inspire and empower children, young people, and their families to build sustainable, safe, and secure relationships within their communities. Listening to and prioritising the voices of children and families is at the heart of everything we do. 

You’ll join a forward-thinking local authority committed to delivering exceptional services for children and families. We focus on innovative solutions that prioritise the well-being and development of our community, driving significant improvements in children’s social care, education, early intervention, prevention, and governance at all levels. 

By adhering to a set of shared values, we believe our team can make a positive impact on the organisation and the communities we serve. Our ambitious journey for Children’s Services is already yielding positive results, and we remain dedicated to continuous improvement to enhance outcomes for children, young people, and families. 

Our model integrates various services and support for children and families into six locality teams across Dorset, bolstered by a central team of specialist services. Our priorities for improving outcomes for children and young people in Dorset are: 

  • Best Start in Life 
  • Young and Thriving 
  • Good Care Provision 
  • The Best Education for All 
  • Delivering Locally 
  • Best Place to Live 
  • Safe at Home and in the Community 

Dorset Children’s Services is proud to be a Families First for Children Pathfinder for the ‘Stable Homes Built on Love’ initiative. This recognition underscores our commitment to pioneering innovative approaches that ensure stable, loving homes for children, emphasising permanence and relational security. 

Why Join Us: 

  • work within a supportive and innovative council that prioritises children's wellbeing 
  • be part of a team that values continuous learning and professional development 
  • enjoy a role that offers a significant impact on the community and future generations 
  • competitive salary with excellent benefits, including membership in the pension scheme 

Our values within children’s services: 

  • collaborative: we work with citizens and communities, not just for them 
  • strength-based: we focus on people's strengths, not just their problems 
  • restorative: we aim to stop harm and repair relationships 

What you can expect to be doing: 

We are seeking an exceptional leader for the role of Executive Director of Children's Services. This critical position will oversee all aspects of children's services in Dorset, including Commissioning & Partnerships; Education & Learning; Care & Protection; Quality Assurance & Safeguarding. You will drive our vision to provide the best start in life, ensure children and young people are thriving, and offer excellent care and education. 

Key Responsibilities: 

  • provide leadership vision and strategic direction for the Council to deliver Dorset’s corporate priorities and objectives 
  • act as a strategic change maker to shape and grow a 'fit for the future' organisation 
  • lead and manage the strategic direction of Children's Services in Dorset 
  • collaborate with multi-professional teams and community partners to deliver high-quality services 
  • ensure services are strength-based and restorative, focusing on early intervention 
  • promote a culture of continuous improvement, innovation, and excellence 
  • manage budgets and resources efficiently to achieve the best outcomes for children and families 
  • influence and inspire senior stakeholders, including government departments and community groups 
  • provide strategic vision to ensure high levels of performance, setting clear direction and fostering a culture of collaboration and excellence 
  • drive effective child protection and safeguarding systems, ensuring professional leadership and practice 
  • act as a lead ambassador for the Council, representing and promoting Dorset at local, regional, and national levels 

Qualifications and Experience: 

  • educated to degree level or equivalent with evidence of relevant continuing managerial and professional development
  • senior leadership experience in a complex organisation, such as a significant Local Authority or large public/private sector entity
  • experience in social care with comprehensive knowledge of legislative and operational frameworks
  • successful leadership of large-scale, complex transformation programs involving strategic, structural, and cultural change
  • proven record in strategic leadership, decision making, policy formulation, and service delivery
  • ability to establish effective performance measures, evaluate service quality, and deliver significant improvements
  • ability to track and interpret national developments, presenting them to Elected Members to enhance our leadership capacity
  • experience in making difficult decisions and managing conflict constructively
Watch this video to hear more:
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Further Information

Please contact Lateefah Sulaiman, HR Business Partner Childrens Services on [email protected] or 01305 221621 if you wish to arrange a short telephone conversation with Matt Prosser for more details regarding this role.

The assessment process will consist of several stages to include: 

Technical interviews (virtual) – 28th August
Meet our Youth Voice panel (virtual) – 30th August
Formal interview – 2nd September
This post involves working with children and/or vulnerable adults and/or having access to significant information about them. It will be subject to a Disclosure and Barring Service check. See our policy on the employment of ex-offenders.  

About Us

We’re passionate about making Dorset a great place to live, work and visit. Working for us should be no exception.  

At Dorset Council we:

provide more than 450 services to over 380,000 residents  

  • have ambitious aspirations  
  • are excited about our future  
  • care about Dorset and all the people who live here  
  • know that all roles make a difference and that our employees are key to our success  

You will:  

  • have access to a range of employee benefits  
  • be part of an organisation that supports each other to grow and succeed  
  • have access to range of training opportunities which will help with your personal development and career progression  

We are challenging ourselves to become a more diverse and inclusive organisation. We recognise that recruitment and inclusion of individuals with diverse skills, perspectives and backgrounds will bring real strength to the council and our communities. We have a commitment to equality and welcome applications from everyone.  

We are proud to be a Disability Confident Employer. We offer an interview to everyone who declares a disability and meets the essential criteria for the role.  

We are keen to make our interviews accessible. Let us know on your job application if you have a disability and need any reasonable adjustments.  

We also look for applicants who share our commitment to our behaviours. We will ask you to evidence when you have demonstrated them as part of the selection process.  

If appointed, the personal information we collect from you will be shared with Cifas who will use it to prevent fraud, other unlawful or dishonest conduct, malpractice, and other seriously improper conduct. If any of these are detected, you could be refused certain services or employment. Your personal information will also be used to verify your identity. Further details of how your information will be used by us and Cifas, and your data protection rights, can be found at https://www.cifas.org.uk/fpn.  

This role is UK based and we will need to establish your Right to Work as part of the appointment process.  

We use generic job descriptions and person specifications. This means the job title on any attachments may differ from the job title in the advert. We may provide specific information in a context statement if relevant.  

Find out more about how to apply.  

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