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Assistant Director (Principal Social Worker)

Nationwide / flexible
£96,057 to £102,408
Closing date
28 Apr 2024

Job Details

Our strategic ambition is for every child in family law proceedings to have an exceptional experience, everywhere in the country and every time. Are you an experienced and senior operational leader of services for children and families with the energy and commitment to lead a highly effective service?

Key to being part of the leadership team and helping us to achieve our ambition, is inspirational, inclusive leadership, a commitment to continuously improve the quality and effectiveness of practice and to do this through developing collaborative partnerships across the family justice system.

While we are proud that Ofsted judged us to be ‘outstanding’ earlier this year, we haven’t come this far only to come this far. There is always more to do to serve the best interests of children in public and private law proceedings across England. Our inspection outcome has energised us to keep getting better at what we do for children and families and to hear feedback from them that tells us we are doing just that.

Due to retirement and confirmation of our senior operational leadership structure, we are recruiting for an Assistant Director (Principal Social Worker).

If our ambition for children resonates with you, and you are confident you can demonstrate the breadth and depth of experience required for the role of Assistant Director (Principal Social Worker), have a track record as a senior leader in improving the quality and impact of social work practice, and your leadership style and values align with ours, we invite you to read on.

Directly accountable to the National Director of Operations, if you join us you will have a range of responsibilities, and accountabilities, including:

  • Representing the profession at the most senior levels within the organisation and in multi-agency national forums.
  • Contributing to proposed initiatives, innovations, changes in policy and practice guidance, and ways of working.
  • Keeping up to date with research and responding to contemporary practice issues, initiating practice discussions, and proposing test and learn pilots to explore new ways of working suggested through feedback, audit, and significant incidents.
  • Developing and embedding our unified model of social work, ‘Together with Children and Families’, working with the Together champions to support and challenge social workers and managers to achieve greater consistency in the application of the values and practice materials.
  • Working closely with the Assistant Director for Performance and Quality Assurance to align social work polices with practice guidance and practice aids.
  • Leading the Social Work Academy in delivering effective induction and ongoing professional development and learning at all levels of social work, including a comprehensive curriculum of high-quality training modules.
  • Developing the Career & Learning Pathway for social workers, working collaboratively with the Deputy Directors of Operations and Improvement to set robust criteria and processes for progression.

We are looking for individuals who already have a deep commitment to improving practice, significant experience at a senior level, have successfully led children’s social work services, and are ready to take their next career step. We are also looking for you to demonstrate the following:

  • Providing learning and development to social workers, including a training curriculum.
  • Contributing to the development of Practice Quality Standards and guidance.
  • Developing practice aids to support social workers in undertaking direct work with children and complex assessments of needs, risks, and resources.
  • Leading in embedding a learning culture, engaging and motivating social workers to accept learning and changes to improve the quality and effectiveness of practice.
  • Demonstrating the analytical skills that inform a solutions-focussed approach to improving practice and performance.

As a national organisation, we are flexible on your location. However, we expect senior leaders to be visible which will mean some travel and overnight stays in different parts of the country, including our offices in central London.

If you join us, you will be well-supported through induction, supervision, learning and performance review, whether you are already at this level of leadership or are taking your next career step.

We offer an attractive reward package, flexible working to achieve that important work/life balance, and a comprehensive programme of support to maintain your wellbeing at work that includes 4 ‘wellbeing days’ in addition to a generous annual leave entitlement.

We are an organisation valuing, promoting and prioritising equality, diversity and inclusion and we especially welcome applications from people with diverse backgrounds. The Chief Executive and Corporate Directors sponsor our objectives in this regard, listening to and encouraging feedback from families, children, our staff, and partners about how well we are doing in terms of understanding and celebrating uniqueness.

We encourage you to read the Assistant Director (Principal Social Worker) job description and if you haven’t already, to visit our website to find out more about ‘working for us’. You may also benefit from visiting to the ‘professionals’ section.

Next steps

We have set out a timeline here for the recruitment to these positions. We anticipate a two-stage interview process, the first being an opportunity not only for us to find out more about you, but for you to strengthen your understanding of the role and Cafcass.

The second stage will be a panel interview with members of the corporate management team. The Family Justice and Young People’s Board (FJYPB), who always provide an invaluable perspective, will also assist with interviews.

Closing date: Sunday 28th April

Initial interview: 7th to 10th May

Panel Interview: 3rd and 6th June

If you are attracted to this role, we look forward to receiving your application.


Cafcass stands for Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service.

Cafcass represents children in family court cases in England. We put children’s needs, wishes and feelings first, making sure that children’s voices are heard at the heart of the family court setting, and that decisions are made in their best interests. Operating within the law set by Parliament (Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000) and under the rules and directions of the family courts, we are independent of the courts, social services, education and health authorities and all similar agencies.

Our duty is to safeguard and promote the welfare of children going through the family justice system. Our experienced Family Court Advisers may be asked by the court to work with families and then advise the court on what we consider to be the best interests of the children involved in three main areas:

  • divorce and separation, sometimes called ‘private law’, where parents or carers can’t agree on arrangements for their children
  • care proceedings, sometimes called ‘public law’, where social services have serious concerns about the safety or welfare of a child
  • adoption, which can be either public or private law.
Company info
Milburn Hill Road
University of Warwick Science Park

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