New Year, and Centre seeks new Head of Practice

02 January 2019

Helping to ensure that WWC decisions are attuned to the sector, the post holder will build and manage relationships with a wide range of stakeholders across the sector. The post will assist with the design, management and delivery of the Centre’s range of products and services aimed at boosting sector capability, motivation and opportunity to adopt evidence-based practice.

The Role:

Sector relations

  1. Be the voice of practice within the WWC, advising the Executive Director and other senior executives on issues in children’s social care and on how best to engage the sector, and ensuring that WWC decisions are attuned to the sector.
  2. Provide challenge and support both to the WWC’s leadership (to ensure that a focus on practice remains at the heart of WWC activity and decision-making, and that WWC activity remains relevant to the needs and priorities of the sector) and to the sector (to ensure that leaders and practitioners engage with the challenge of becoming more evidence-minded)
  3. Build and manage relationships with sector stakeholders – within local authorities, VCS organisations, commercial suppliers, academic and research bodies and training providers, as well as with pan-sector organisations (including DfE, Ofsted, LGA, ADCS, BASW, Principal Social Workers Network) – to help ensure effective engagement with the sector.
  4. Ensure the Centre becomes a key stakeholder in the national reform agenda for the sector, engaging with policy processes and with national organisations and initiatives to ensure the Centre’s point of view is communicated to national policy-makers and decision-makers.
  5. Build and develop relationships with children’s social care professionals, and oversee the work of the Centre in supporting and facilitating grassroots-based movements and networks of staff committed to evidence-based practice.
  6. Build and manage partnerships with social work education and training organisations – including universities and bodies such as Frontline – to help build an evidence-informed and research-literate profession.
  7. Promote the Centre and its work through organising and speaking at conferences and events, writing blogs and articles, and engaging in traditional- and social-media activities.
  8. Work closely with the WWC’s communications lead to ensure the development and execution of effective strategies and tactics for communication with the sector.
  9. Work closely with the WWC’s head of research and the Research Partner Consortium to set priorities for research and ensure the development and delivery of effective approaches to the generation and sharing of evidence.

Process management and service delivery

  1. Lead on the design, management and development of the Centre’s set of beneficiary, practitioner and stakeholder panels – including the practitioner panel, children and young people’s panel, families panel and advisory council – paying particular attention to the Centre’s work to understand and focus on the achievement of better outcomes for children.
  2. Assist the Executive Director in the design, management and delivery of the Centre’s range of products and services aimed at boosting sector capability, motivation and opportunity to adopt evidence-based practice.

Strategic planning

  1. Working closely with the Executive Director and Centre’s management team to contribute to wider organisational strategy development and the development of operational plans and budgets.
  2. Working closely with the rest of the Centre’s management team and external stakeholders to agree priorities for future programmes and to identify approaches to ensure that the Centre’s work remains cutting edge.
  3. Contributing to the development and improvement of organisational systems and policies.

The Person:

  1. Personal commitment to improving outcomes for children and young people, and their families.
  2. A passion for the agenda around What Works Centres and the broader agenda around evidence-based policy and practice in public services.

Knowledge and Experience:

  1. Qualified Social Worker. (E)
  2. Experience of direct social-work practice with children and families and also of management/supervisory work in the CSC sector. (E)
  3. Knowledge of local government’s duties and responsibilities for children’s services. (E)
  4. Knowledge of policy and practice issues in the CSC sector. (E)
  5. Understanding of effective strategies and techniques for the management of a diverse range of stakeholders (E).
  6. Experience of working in a fast-paced environment. (E)
  7. Experience of line management. (E)

Skills and Abilities:

  1. Ability to develop a high-performing team from scratch, blending directly employed staff, secondees and contractors/consultants.
  2. Ability to work effectively with a wide range of partner organisations where successful project delivery entails aligning agendas across multiple organisations and navigating other organisations’ decision-making processes.
  3. The ability to communicate effectively, both orally and in writing.
  4. Skills in facilitation and organisation development to assist with the development of practitioner movements.


  1. Natural collaborator, networker and convener who makes connections and brings others together.
  2. Politically astute with sound judgment.
  3. Leads by example and has the highest degree of personal integrity.
  4. About Nesta
  5. Nesta is a global innovation foundation. We back new ideas to tackle the big challenges of our time. Our mission is to spark and shape new ideas that improve how the world works for everyone. We use our knowledge, networks, funding and skills – working in partnership with others, including governments, businesses and charities. We are a UK charity but work all over the world, supported by a financial endowment.

How to apply
To apply, please send your CV and a supporting statement outlining clearly how you would succeed in the role to, citing “WWC – Head of Practice” in the subject of the email.

For more information, download the candidate specification.

Deadline for applications: 5.00pm on Friday January 18th 2019.