Children's and Families Assistant Director

We're seeking a professional and influential Assistant Director to help define the future direction of our Children and Young People's Service.

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  • Our resilience and agility provides the platform for you to enjoy personal and professional success!

Welcome - thank you for your interest in this opportunity.

North Yorkshire is England's largest county and a beautiful, vibrant place to live and work.

North Yorkshire County Council has a reputation for delivering high quality services. Its Children’s Services are nationally recognised for their excellence, taking a national lead to share best practice.

As a council we have an immensely successful track record. We consistently score well in inspections and are amongst the top scoring when compared to other County Councils. We also have a good story to tell when it comes to value for money, service delivery and impact in the communities of North Yorkshire we serve.

In both LGA peer and Ofsted reviews our children’s services, are referred to as outstanding and providing a beacon for other authorities grappling with the challenges of delivering excellent outcomes for children and families while operating under a constrained budget. 

At the heart of what we do is a strengths based, relational Practice Model that is about creating the conditions for children that allow great relationships to flourish. It combines Signs of Safety, systemic practice, restorative approaches and Family Seeing and Finding to ensure that the network of support for children is strong. This is backed up with significant investment in staff and CPD to ensure the service is equipped as well as possible.

Whilst what we do, we do well, we are not complacent and with true Yorkshire resilience we constantly strive for further improvement. As is the case Nationally, there are significant challenges facing our children’s service and organisation as a whole, including rising demand for services. We are however well placed to meet this and are committed to ensuring we have the right level of services across the County. We are ambitious to constantly improve outcomes for children and families within public financial constraints and growing demand for services. It is more important than ever that we work in genuine partnership, are crystal clear about our priorities, and are resolutely focussed on improving outcomes.

It is an exciting time for the Council as we deliver local government review by merging the 8 district, borough and county council to form a new North Yorkshire Council for April 2023. The county council is the continuing authority, therefore children’s services are unchanged by this structural transformation. It brings with it the opportunity to improve localised services in this great county and secure greater investment through a devolution deal for North Yorkshire. A devolution deal for York and North Yorkshire could potentially unlock around £2.4bn of investment over 30 years, with a focus on improving the economic prosperity and future long-term opportunities for all residents.

At this exciting but challenging time we are looking to appoint to the pivotal role of Assistant Director for our Children and Families service, as the previous post holder has secured promotion following a long career tenure and progression in North Yorkshire.

We are looking for a professional, influential Assistant Director to drive consistent practice, help define our future direction, influence key stakeholders and support service improvement in the Children’s and Young People’s Services directorate and across the breadth of the authority.

Want to learn more? View this video of myself outlining the key aspect of the role, our current position and the key priorities for the incumbent post holder:

If you are interested in meeting the challenge and making your mark in North Yorkshire, then we look forward to your application.

Stuart Carlton
Corporate Director, Children and Young People’s Service North Yorkshire County Council

As an Authority we are highly ambitious in the outcomes we seek for all children and young people. We are an exceptional, award winning children’s service, spreading innovative practice nationally.

As we say in our children and young people’s plan, we want life chances increasingly to be in their own hands and not determined by geography or family circumstances. We also want to be an inclusive Authority with high quality education provision and support which works well together across the spectrum of need, whilst meeting the reality of public sector funding.

North Yorkshire has a growing reputation for its Children and Young People’s Service with legacy of successful Ofsted outcomes and award winning innovation programmes. As a result, the LA is one of the DfE “Partner in Practice” authorities. It is certainly an LA which recognises the need for creativity and collaboration and for greater engagement of all in finding new solutions to historic challenges.

High quality education transforms lives. It brings alive knowledge and skills and ignites enterprise and endeavour. It liberates the talent and ingenuity of everyone it touches. As champions for children, we are determined that every young person in our schools and academies must have access to the right opportunities, experiences and support that they need to succeed.

This passion for education continues to drive us. We have historically had a proud track record in education, the results achieved by students in secondary schools remain some of the best in the country. Today only 82% of children attend a good or outstanding primary school and 76% of children go to a good or outstanding secondary school. We face some of the greatest challenges to education performance linked to areas of deprivation and rurality and so we have much more to do to fully realise our ambition for children and families across this great county.

The council is also leading and supporting some key cutting-edge initiatives that, with partners, are making a difference to the education offer in the county. The coastal district of Scarborough has schools with particular challenges and through the Opportunity Area and before this the Scarborough Pledge we have invested in areas including early help, raising aspirations and improving schools. 

This investment helps us ensuring children get the best start in the early years, building teaching and leadership capacity in schools, increasing access to university, strengthening technical pathways for young people, and working with employers to improve young people’s access to the right advice and experiences. 

The Inclusion Service is a broad area and provides integrated services for children and young people (0-25yrs), with Special Educational Needs and Disabilities. This covers provisions across a range of functions, including Special Schools, Enhanced Mainstream Schools and Pupil Referral Units. This is where we differ from some other Local Authorities and our approach provides a strong sense of the voice of children and young people, keeping them at the heart of the service. 

As a service, we are committed to creating a healthy culture where social workers feel that they have a forum to share their views about the organisation and environment in which they work. We have been nominated for several awards and have previously won Employer of the Year at the Social Work Awards. Through our workforce strategy we also ensure that staff receive continuous and excellent support from management.

Don’t just take our word for it. Our social workers tell us that they have manageable workloads whilst recognising that there are sometimes challenges due to changing demand, supportive and transparent management and the opportunity for CPD. Overall the majority of our social workers:

  • recommend North Yorkshire as a good place to be a Social Worker
  • are happy with the amount of supervision received, allowing them the opportunity to reflect and to continue to deliver high quality social work in the county
  • believe that NYCC is a learning organisation and has a positive learning culture, offering a transparent culture which nurtures practice learning and the development of professional practice. CPD and career opportunities are good and highly valued
  • felt particularly supported during COVID enabling them to manage an ever-changing home and work situations
  • feel supported to manage any work-related pressures, allowing them the time and space to make good decisions, focusing their efforts on making a real difference

As part of the testament to social work recruitment and retention we have only engaged one or two agency social workers for over 8 years on short term assignments. Our vacancy rate is low and there is low turnover of staff. As a result of our workforce stability, children enjoy positive and stable relationships with their social workers. 

Our No Wrong Door initiative is seen nationally as a flagship programme with many other authorities working with us to mirror local practice. The scheme has been introduced to support troubled and challenging young people who have been in and out of foster care. Alongside our investment in Family Seeing and Finding, we have seen out looked after children numbers fall further over the last two years as we support children to remain in their networks of support.

This track record provides an excellent base to advance your career; safe in the knowledge that you have a strong foundation from which to further build our services locally and nationally. We are a large authority providing the opportunity to work at scale, on a national stage and further develop cutting edge practice.

If you think you are up to the challenge, we would like to hear from you!

Salary: Up to £102k plus relocation support
Location: Northallerton - Hybrid

Are you an aspirational and visionary leader with a passionate commitment to achieving excellence for children and young people? 

North Yorkshire has a growing reputation for its Children and Young People’s Service; successful Ofsted outcomes, award winning innovation programmes and sharing best practice nationally. Providing a new Assistant Director with the platform to further shape and lead some exciting, innovative approaches whilst making their mark, operating at scale and on a national platform.

We are pursuing ambitious plans for transformation; to face the challenge of balancing the need to make large-scale efficiencies with our plans for modernisation, whilst working through what is an ever changing landscape, and the delivery of service excellence. Great progress on that journey has been made; we have the ability to invest the resources necessary to ensure that our priorities are met now and into the future.

With this in mind, we are now looking for an Assistant Director with vision, leadership and the drive to meet challenges head on, as well as someone who can work successfully with key stakeholders and take key service managers with us; to realise our ambition.

You will be an inspirational, progressive, supportive and visible leader steeped in innovative professional social work practice. You will understand and have the ability to navigate the challenging and ever changing children and young people’s landscape and above all you will have a passionate commitment to young people with a moral purpose at the core.

As Assistant Director you will be a true social care professional providing clear, assured direction and innovative leadership to the strategies, functions and operational delivery of our Children’s and Families service. A member of the Children and Young People’s Service Leadership Team, you will also ensure continual improvement in performance across our entire Children and Young People’s service.

Given our lean senior management system you will play a key role in the corporate leadership of the council, working with the Chief Executive, Corporate Directors, elected members, and other senior colleagues across the Council.

In return we can provide you with:

  • A strong foundation to progress some really interesting, innovative, high impact, ground breaking work.
  • The opportunity to positively influence the entirety of our children’s service and the council as a whole.
  • A large organisation serving the largest county in the country providing the opportunity to work at scale.
  • An excellent reputation, allowing you to work with organisation’s on a national stage and trade services commercially.
  • Strong political leadership and partnership arrangements providing catalysts for change not barriers to overcome.
  • An authority which is financially stable as a result of our grip on performance and resources, and our ability to spend the Yorkshire pound astutely allowing you to forge forward with innovative practice.
  • Career Progression. Our grip, resilience and agility provides the platform for you to make your mark and enjoy personal and professional success. 

We are looking for someone with a proven track record in delivering and leading complex children’s services and clear ability to do so in a large authority. If you are an excellent strategic manager, with a strong background in professional social care practice, performance management and partnership working, and you are interested in taking North Yorkshire forward then we would like to hear from you. 

We provide comprehensive benefits and relocation packages, details of which are available below. 

Perhaps more importantly, we believe that you will be welcomed by a truly inspirational team in an innovative, successful organisation; providing you with the robust and supportive platform to personally and professionally succeed.

Our success provides a great foundation to further shape exciting, innovative approaches, making their mark in this role and on a national stage. This presents an ideal opportunity for an aspirational Head of Service or an existing Assistant Director on their journey towards Director of Children’s Services.

Key documents

Living in North Yorkshire...

North Yorkshire is a thriving county which adapts to a changing world and remains a special place to live and work. 

Photographs of Whitby Abbey and Ribblehead Viaduct.North Yorkshire natural beauty is captured in its three areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, National Nature Reserves, stunning coastlines, scenic rural villages, vibrant cities and market towns. North Yorkshire really is a beautiful, thriving and special place to live and work, rich in heritage and culture.

North Yorkshire features significantly in the ten best places to live in the UK in Halifax Quality of Life Survey 2019. The Quality of Life index aims to quantify where living standards are highest in the UK by ranking local performance across a range of indicators; 

Richmondshire was placed second in the list, a position boosted by excellent personal wellbeing factors (life satisfaction, happiness).

Hambleton was placed fourth and Ryedale was placed eighth, a truly commendable achievement and another incredible accolade for North Yorkshire. 

Photographs of Malham Cove and the sunset from Scarborough beach.

North Yorkshire is one of the safest places to live in England and has extremely low crime rates.  

In addition the county benefits from excellent road and rail links, with easy access via the east coast mainline, the A1(M) and A19. Leeds, York, Newcastle, Durham and Teesside are all easily commutable, and London/ Edinburgh just two hours away by train. 

From its lively cities to pretty villages, rolling countryside and grand coastline, Yorkshire has so much to offer.

As a whole North Yorkshire offers a high standard of living working in a stunning location.

Great employment opportunities for your family members along with a higher proportion of schools, which are good or outstanding compared to national figures.

We are strong performing authority, with supportive political leadership, and talented teams providing the platform to have a fulfilling, challenging and successful career in a truly stunning place.

A recent peer challenge found that North Yorkshire County Council is a good place to work, with strong leadership and a loyal and committed workforce who have access to well-regarded training and development.

We pride ourselves on being an employer of choice, offering a range of training and development opportunities and career progression allowing you to manage your own development journey and empowering you to control your career. Your career can change with your life here in North Yorkshire.

We positively encourage flexible working and we provide you with the technology you need to work from a wide variety of locations. 

In addition to your salary we offer a range of great benefits to help you financially make life a bit easier. From career average employer contribution pension scheme, green car and cycle schemes, travel loans, shopping and gym discounts to name but a few you can find more information on the range of benefits we offer within our  Total Rewards brochure (pdf / 382 KB).

Key documents and websites

Key dates

  • Closing Date: Midnight Sunday 22nd May 2022
  • Shortlisting Date: 24th May 2022
  • Interview Dates: 7th and 8th June 2022 (in person at the offices of North Yorkshire County Council, Northallerton)

Contact us

We welcome you to contact Penny Keatings on or Leanne Auton on to arrange an informal and confidential conversation regarding the role.

After an initial conversation, we can arrange a further conversation with Stuart Carlton (Corporate Director, Children and Young People’s Service) to further explore your interest.


To apply please send your CV including a personal statement in one Microsoft Word document to Leanne Auton at

It is important that your CV includes: your full contact details (telephone, email, address), full employment history (name of employer, job titles, dates of employment and salary), full education history (qualification, grade, dates and name of place of study), explanation of any gaps in employment and the contact details of at least two referees including your current / most recent employer indicating whether you provide us with the authority to contact each referee prior to interview. Your personal statement should outline your motivation for applying and how you meet the criteria for the role as detailed in the person specification. Please also provide details of your current salary and notice period.

We believe in the importance of inclusion, which is why we are always working towards being a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive employer. Learn more about our equality, diversity and inclusion work here.

This is a politically restricted post and subject to a disclosure and barring criminal record check.
We are committed to directly recruiting staff and will not accept applications nor services from agency suppliers in respect of our vacancies.