Director of Children's Services

Location: Lewes, East Sussex

Salary: £competitive

Reference: A000444


With strong local communities, unspoilt countryside and vibrant coastal towns, East Sussex offers an exceptional quality of life to many. However, some of our residents face significant challenges, and rely on us and our partners to support them. Our One Council approach, prioritising the delivery of high-quality services in a tight fiscal environment, underpins everything we do. As a high-performing authority, we are proud of the work that has gone into building strong foundations for East Sussex Children’s Services. We’ve been recognised for innovative practice, and have developed a distinctive relationship-based approach to our work with children and their families. But if we’re to achieve the best possible outcomes, there’s always more to do.

You’ll work with schools, through school-led partnerships, to improve standards and ensure inclusive educational practice. Innovative, collaborative and inspiring, you’ll be a visible and valued member of our ambitious corporate leadership team. Whether your career to date has been in education or social care, you must bring a track record of creative and flexible leadership, outstanding partnership-working ability, and solid delivery of service improvement.

If you’re ready for a positive, mature and challenging environment where an ethos of continuous improvement drives lasting progress, we would welcome your application.

About the Role

Reporting direct to the Chief Executive, the Director of Children's Services will lead the delivery of services within the Children’s Services department and be accountable for the implementation of the local and national agenda, and discharging the statutory obligations of the Director of Children’s Services. They will work with elected Members, the Chief Executive and Corporate Management Team (CMT) to drive forward the Council’s work to ensure it is flexible, customer focused, responsive and dynamic. They will also be responsible for ensuring that the Council operates within the required governance framework to deliver the efficient and appropriate use of public money.

Download Candidate Information Pack

About You

We are open to candidates from different backgrounds, but Becky Shaw, Chief Executive, is very clear on the person she is seeking for this role.  She says:

‘I want someone who is relentless and restless in terms of what they want to achieve for our children and families. But I don’t want a hero, this job is for someone who knows they need to work in partnership with the rest of the council and our partners. It also needs to be someone who can really understand and recognise that we are a county of real contrasts, someone who can work flexibly with different communities and be able to understand their different needs. The Director of Children’s Services will be working as part of a small corporate management team and will need to be someone who can work towards the goals of the whole council. I want someone who will be passionate about helping children reach their potential, and really focused on hearing the voice of the child.'

Our new Director of Children's Services will possess and be able to demonstrate the essential education and qualifications, key skills, abilities, knowledge, experience, values and behaviours included in the person specification.

If this sounds like you, then East Sussex County Council would love to hear from you.  Please call contacts at our recruitment partner, Faerfield, for a confidential discussion and/or apply, as per the below. 

Indicative Timetable

Closing date for applications: Friday 15 December 2023

Technical Interviews: Monday 8 and Tuesday 9 January 2024 (PM) - via Teams

Young People's Panel: Wednesday 17 January 2024 - via Teams
Likely to be from mid-late afternoon to accommodate young people's school commitments

Officer and Stakeholder Panels: Monday 22 January 2024 (all day) - County Hall, Lewes

Final Member Interviews: Tuesday 23 January 2024 (all day) - County Hall, Lewes


For a confidential discussion please speak to:

Sarah Longbottom
Senior Consultant
Tel: 0121 312 3755

Martin Tucker
Managing Director
Tel: 0121 312 3755