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Director of children's services

Lead, manage and take overall responsibility for the delivery of high-quality social care in a local authority
Other names
Director of children’s social care

What you'll do

As a director of children’s services you’ll:

  • provide strategic leadership of children's services to align with national policies and local authority objectives 
  • oversee the planning, development and delivery of services 
  • define and implement the strategic vision for children's services across a local authority 
  • lead on developing co-operation with external partners including schools, health and police 
  • have oversight of the budget and resources allocated to children's services 
  • ensure services provided by external partners deliver for children and represent value for money 
  • sit on national boards and report to organisations such as the Department for Education 
  • develop and implement policies and initiatives that promote the welfare of children 
  • manage a team of professionals and ensure high standards of practice 

The role of director of children's services is subject to statutory guidance. This sets out:

  • the process for appointing a director of children's services
  • the role and responsibilities of post holders
  • what local authorities must do to comply with the law

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • leadership skills to provide strategic direction, motivate teams and manage resources 
  • strategic thinking to analyse complex issues and make informed decisions 
  • in-depth knowledge of legislation, regulations and policies related to children's services and social care 
  • expert knowledge of running a public sector organisation 
  • financial management skills to ensure effective use of resources 
  • communication skills to build relationships and negotiate with external partners 
  • knowledge of safeguarding principles to ensure the well-being of children
  • the ability to evaluate service performance and implement continuous improvement measures

How to become one

To become a director of children’s services you must: 

  • ideally have a professional qualification such as the Level 7 Diploma in Management and Leadership 
  • have experience leading multidisciplinary teams, implementing strategic plans and driving organisational change 
  • have experience managing budgets and allocating resources 

If you’re an assistant director, the upon: aspirant directors programme can help prepare you to progress to a director of children's services role.

Career paths and progression

With experience you could: 

  • move into a senior leadership position in a social work organisation such as chief executive officer or chief operating officer 
  • move into research and teaching 

The upon: new directors programme can help new directors of children’s services develop their leadership, management and technical skills.

Current opportunities

The Find a job service can help you with your search for jobs and send alerts when new jobs become available.