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Local authority children’s services recruitment programme launched

A new programme, backed by the Department for Education (DfE), is aiming to improve the recruitment of and training of Directors of Children’s Services across UK local authorities.

The Aspirant Directors Programme was developed in response to the high turnover rates and short tenures within local authorities, highlighted in the annual reports of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) over the past few years.

This accompanied others within these roles moving to other areas of local authorities, creating further recruitment difficulties.

The new scheme will aim to attract, support and retain talent within the challenging but important local authority role.

The DfE-backed programme - titled ‘upon’ - is led by a consortium formed between The Staff College, Institute of Public Care, Skills for Care and supported by commercial partners.

Having already been preliminarily ran for a year already, it is expected to welcome around 35 participants interested in becoming Directors of Children’s Services onto the programme.

The programme aims to offer support and development for new and aspiring directors, seeking to build the skills and behaviours required for them to make a good start in the role, as well as guiding them through the early stages of the job.

Following the ADCS’ follow-up publication of its Annual Report for 2020/21, there has been a ‘significant’ decrease in turnover, which the programme aims to continue to improve upon through this offering of support.

Jo Davidson, Principal of The Staff College, explained, “The role of a DCS is wide-ranging, challenging, yet incredibly rewarding.

“Our mission is to demonstrate what life is like as a DCS to better prepare our candidates for the journey they’ll take, with the sole aim of making a positive change to children’s lives.

“We are extremely pleased that we are able to increase the number of participants on our programme. We are confident the benefits will be far reaching long after the course completion for all those who rely upon our work.”

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