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South Tyneside Council

Head of Children & Families

South Tyneside Council job vacancy

South Shields/Hybrid
25th May 2023
Closing date


A fantastic opportunity has arisen to join our dedicated team to provide leadership and management to the Children and Families Service.

To lead the service towards the achievement of the overall borough vision by pursuing best practice and new innovative ways of working.

About the role

Job description


A pivotal role in our senior team, reporting to the Director of Children’s Services and supporting Elected Members, responsible for and providing leadership across Children and Families Social Care Services.

This is a key role in delivering our overarching vision of making South Tyneside an outstanding place to live, invest and bring up families.

Overall objectives of the post

  • Provide vision and leadership to supports the delivery of hiqh quality, safe services that improve outcomes for vulnerable children and families in South Tyneside.
  • Lead the Children and Families Social Care Service and coordinate and deliver the Council’s initiatives and priorities in order to ensure that South Tyneside has strong and sustainable communities and is an excellent place to live, work and visit.
  • Work in partnership, as a key member of the Council’s Management Team, in leading specialist areas towards the achievement of the overall corporate vision by pursuing best practice and implementing value for money.
  • Contribute to the achievement of the Council’s aims and objectives and secure continuous improvement in performance and standards through appropriate professional leadership, support and challenge within an overall framework that safeguards children, their health and wellbeing.
  • Strategically lead, manage, co-ordinate and develop the strategy for safeguarding, care planning, looked after children, referral and assessment, disability services, quality assurance and other services within the Children and Families Social Care Service.
  • Recruit, lead and support staff to achieve quality services and encourage staff to develop their own understanding, knowledge and skills to ensure effective service delivery at all levels, and a workforce committed to the improvement of services to children and young people.
  • Lead the development, implementation and evaluation of the local authority’s policies and provision within the Children and Families Social Care Service.
  • Contribute to the reform and continuous improvement of services to children across the Council and with partners and actively engage all stakeholders to achieve an effective and fully integrated Children and Young People’s Partnership.
  • Lead the Stay Safe outcome for the Children and Young People’s Partnership; and be part of the Council’s Management Team, contributing to the strategic management of the service as well as the wider senior team of the Council.
  • Provide quality operational and strategic leadership to the Children and Families Social Care Service, in accordance with the legislative requirements, and the principles, objectives and policies of the Service.
  • Ensure a comprehensive, flexible and coordinated response to the needs of individuals and families in the community and a committed and supportive working environment to deliver high quality services.
  • Lead from the front through personal example, open commitment and clear action, valuing diversity, celebrating equality, involving and empowering people, encouraging innovation and promoting a clear customer focus and performance culture.

Key areas of responsibility

  • Safeguarding children services (all safeguarding teams)
  • Support to Looked After Children and Care Experienced Young People
  • Care Planning
  • Fostering and Adoption
  • Service Standards
  • Children with Disabilities
  • Children's Homes

Key tasks of the post

Corporate Management
  • As a member of the Council's Senior Management Team, contribute towards the effective management of the Council and the achievement of the Council’s corporate aims and assist in the development and implementation of corporate projects and initiatives.
  • Advise and support Elected Members in pursuing the Council’s objectives and the provision of social care services for children and families. Advise Elected Members of the Council’s policies and procedures and professional obligations with regards to family support, child care and protection matters.
  • Work in partnership with other Heads of Service, each a key member of the Council’s Management Team, leading the service towards the achievement of the overall corporate vision by pursuing best practice and innovative ways of workings.
  • Develop positive, influential and productive internal and external partnerships.
  • Contribute to corporate teams tackling cross-cutting issues.
  • Act for the Corporate Director of Children, Adults and Health as required.
Performance Management
  • Within the corporate framework, establish processes for managers to monitor and evaluate standards of service and performance which take account of service user and carer needs and the provision of efficient and effective services which provide value for money.
  • Ensure effective performance management systems are developed and maintained to ensure the delivery of effective social care services to children and families.
  • Ensure that strong, quality audit and assurance systems are in place.
  • Ensure the effective co-ordination, management and deployment of all resources, including budgetary control, within the service area, using established decision making processes and in accordance with professional procedures and the Council's standing orders and financial regulations.
  • Manage risk to children, service users, employees and to the reputation of the Council.
Operational Management/Service Delivery
  • Provide leadership and management to the Children and Families Social Care Service to achieve financial, legislative and policy objectives through an appropriate management ethos and culture.
  • Lead and direct the activities of the service area to optimise the use of resources, respond effectively to current priorities and to plan to meet future requirements, reacting and adapting quickly to any changes required.
  • Develop strategic service and work plans and appropriate inter agency joint planning. Ensure strategies and plans respond to and reflect service user needs and changes in legislation.
  • Responsibility for commissioning and de-commissioning services and renegotiating and monitoring service contracts in response to social care needs, having due regard to the values which underpin the service to be delivered and the Council’s financial requirements.
  • Lead the safeguarding agenda for children within the Council and on an inter-agency basis, and to be responsible to the Children and Families’ Partnership for the Stay Safe outcome. Actively support the development of the South Tyneside Safeguarding Children’s Board.
  • Lead as appropriate on joint planning issues for children, enabling the views of service users and carers to influence service development proposals for social care and wider services.
  • Develop innovative responses to the challenges facing the Council in relation to its children and family social care and safeguarding services. Lead the strategic development of services through changes in the local and national landscape, transforming services as appropriate.
  • Provide effective leadership, guidance and support within the service to enable appropriate responses to sensitive and demanding situations involving the most vulnerable client groups. Make decisions and exercise professional judgement accordingly.
  • Oversee issues of quality and risk in relation to the work of the service. Lead a culture of service improvement, overseeing caseloads, supervision and case file audit to support the well-being of employee and service users.
  • Lead the corporate parenting agenda, and advise Elected Members, particularly the Lead Member for Children and Young People, and the Scrutiny Commissions, as appropriate.
  • Be an active contributor to partnerships, inspiring connections between teams and services in order to improve outcomes for children.
  • Develop performance and quality management systems that deliver excellence and inspire staff.
  • Champion a commitment to equality and diversity throughout the service and to implement relevant anti-discriminatory policies in all aspects of the service’s work.

Person specification

Experience and skills

  • Substantial experience and a successful track record of managing services for children and families services.
  • Extensive operational expertise to oversee quality and risk, including previous experience of managing and responding to Ofsted inspections.
  • Experience of having monitored and modified service provision for children and families, and of implementing successful and innovative organisational change in a social care setting.
  • Proven track record in the management and control of significant budgets.
  • Proven experience of strategic management within a politically sensitive environment.
  • Significant experience in influencing and encouraging “Corporate Parenting” within the organisation.
  • Substantial experience and a proven track record of performance management in an organisation of similar size and complexity.
  • Substantial experience of working across organisational boundaries and professional disciplines.
  • Excellent track record of leading teams to deliver complex projects.
  • Excellent track record of leading partnerships and making them work.
  • Substantial experience of developing innovative and cost effective strategies, plans and programmes.
  • Excellent track record of operational management in children's social care.
  • Excellent track record of working with the media and developing a strong approach to reputation management.
  • Professional social work qualification (DIPSW, CQSW or CSS).
  • Evidence of continuing professional development/management development.

Personal style and behaviour

  • An individual who is seeking significant career challenge with the drive to success in this important and challenging role.
  • A commitment to the Council's Vision and core values.
  • Consistently demonstrates the highest level of professionalism and integrity.
  • Personal and professional demeanour and credibility which commands the confidence of Elected members, senior managers, staff, external partners and other stakeholders.
  • A stategic thinker who acts and thinks corporately with a collaborative style that empowers others.
  • Leads by example, delivers without supervision and is confident in own ability to make sound decisions.
  • Motivated, resilient and not easily discouraged.
  • Behaviours outside of work commensurate with the seniority of the role and its regional standing.

Supporting documents

The vacancy

The Council

Why join South Tyneside Council?

It's a great time to join us at South Tyneside Council

We are implementing our ambitious ‘Our Council’ change and modernisation programme which will help us build on existing strengths and make some improvements so we can fulfil our bold ambitions for residents. We recently launched our 20-year ‘Vision’ for South Tyneside and developed new organisation ‘values’ which guide our ways of working.

Why work for us?

At South Tyneside Council we are PROUD:

  1. Professional
  2. Respectful
  3. Open and honest
  4. Understanding
  5. Deliver what we say we will

We are proud to make a difference.

Find out more about our Council values.

Benefits of working for South Tyneside Council

We can offer you fantastic benefits including:

  • an attractive annual leave entitlement which increases with length of service
  • automatic membership of the Local Government Pension Scheme
  • access to occupational health services
  • training and development opportunities
  • hybrid working for better work/life balance
  • flexible working from 6am - 10pm, Mon - Fri
  • childcare vouchers
  • care lease scheme
  • cycle to work scheme
  • corporate leisure membership
  • home electronics salary sacrifice

What makes South Tyneside unique?

South Tyneside has a fascinating past, inspirational present and an exciting future. Immersed in history and yet bursting with contemporary energy, South Tyneside offers a diversity of breathtakingly beautiful beaches, family fun, a heritage that is both ancient and deeply enriching, and a mix of bustling towns and villages. With cultural hotspots and a fabulous, year- round programme of events, South Tyneside has something for everyone.

Not everyone, when they think of South Tyneside, will think of sleepy country villages. But away from the town centres of South Shields, Jarrow and Hebburn, the villages of Boldon, Cleadon and Whitburn offer leafy lanes, cosy pubs, independent shops and historical connections.

South Tyneside has some of the most competitive housing prices in the UK, making the cost of living more affordable and a work / life balance more achievable.

Being on the outskirts of three big cities – Newcastle upon Tyne, Sunderland and Durham – South Tyneside is ideally located within easy reach of the hustle and bustle of city life but with the serenity of wide-open spaces and award-winning beaches.

The beach life that South Shields provides enables workers and families to enjoy the sand or surf minutes after leaving the office or school playground.

Located in the heart of North East England, you can quickly access the A19 and the A1 which connects the area to Yorkshire, the Midlands, the South of England and Scotland to the North.

By train, you can be in London in less than 3 hours and Edinburgh in one and a half. Flights are available to over 80 destinations from the region’s International Airport, including London, Dubai and Amsterdam.

South Tyneside is on the Tyne and Wear Metro network, which delivers over 40 million passengers to their destination each year. A ferry which connects South Tyneside to North Tyneside and a regional bus network.

South Tyneside is warm and welcoming and we’d love for you to join our South Tyneside team!

How to apply

For more information, contact: