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Service manager

Oversee the performance and quality of practice of multiple social work teams across a service area
Other names
Service lead, area manager, operations manager

What you'll do

As a service manager you’ll:

  • oversee and lead social work teams to ensure effective service delivery 
  • manage team resources including caseloads, staffing and budgets 
  • monitor and evaluate service outcomes and identify areas to improve outcomes for children and families 
  • work closely with external partners to develop policies and ensure coordinated service delivery 
  • work with senior managers to set the strategic direction of the service 
  • support social workers to ensure their supervision, training and well-being needs are met 
  • carry out recruitment and performance management
  • report on service performance and develop improvement plans 
  • carry out audits to ensure services are compliant and delivered to a high standard

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • strong leadership and management skills to motivate and inspire teams of social workers
  • knowledge of relevant legislation, national policies and best practice guidelines
  • strategic thinking to drive service improvement and achieve organisational goals
  • knowledge of budgeting, resource allocation and financial management
  • experience of supporting professional development across teams
  • the ability to monitor, evaluate and manage performance to ensure quality service provision
  • strong organisational skills to manage multiple priorities and deadlines

How to become one

To become a service manager you must:

  • have completed a degree, apprenticeship or graduate training scheme in social work 
  • be registered with Social Work England
  • have significant post-qualifying experience as a qualified child and family social worker
  • have leadership and management experience in a social work setting

If you’re an experienced team manager, the Pathway 3: heads of service programme can help prepare you to progress to a service manager or head of service role.

Career paths and progression

With experience you could:

The upon: aspirant directors programme can help prepare you to progress to a director of children’s services role.

Current opportunities

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