Assistant Director for Commissioning and Partnerships

This role exists to support the Council(s)’ priority of improving outcomes for children in Northamptonshire through inspiring others and identifying, driving and securing opportunities to improve and transform services. The post is at the heart of the Strategic Leadership Team. It is being established to provide professional expert advice to the DCS and Cabinet Member on the quality and effectiveness of the Northamptonshire Children’s Trust and on the commissioning of education and SEND services in delivering improved services for vulnerable children and young people in the county.

A key element of the role will be to establish the commissioning and intelligent client functions across the directorate, including mobilising arrangements to manage relationships and the contract with the new Company. The role will lead on driving innovation in service delivery, business processes and efficiency on behalf of the Director of Children’s Services (DCS).

Main accountabilities

Main accountabilities


Partnership Development and Joint Working

· To support the Director of Children’s Services, Elected Members and colleagues in translating strategic vision and priorities into operational plans, monitoring their progress on a regular basis, identifying exceptions.

· To work with colleagues and partners within Northamptonshire Children’s Trust to identify and determine the best models of service delivery, which deliver high quality outcomes and performance and a high quality customer experience.

· To create an environment where partners will flourish and deliver services within Northamptonshire Children’s Trust to the highest possible standard.

· To develop/negotiate joint approaches to local service planning and delivery in partnership with all the relevant internal and external services providers and regional and national bodies.

· To develop and maintain positive and creative relationships with diverse stakeholders including; elected members, council officers and other external agencies in order to maximise joint effort and pool resources wherever possible.

· To act as an ambassador for the Council, promoting and enhancing the authority’s image, forming strategic alliances and developing effective working relationships on a local, regional and national basis.

· To work in partnership with key stakeholders to develop and implement a commissioning framework and strategy which facilitates the smooth interaction between the Council, as commissioner, and the Trust, as provider of services, in line with the contractual arrangements between the Council, the Trust and the Department for Education.

· To ensure that the commissioning function is responsive to the needs of the children and families in the Council(s) and that their views and thoughts are represented in the wider improvement activity of the Councils, by championing the Voice of the Child at every opportunity.

· At all times, facilitate and maintain an open communication channel with Councillors and Elected Members, to support the democratic process, via briefings, updates, attendance to Cabinet and Scrutiny meetings and more.


Commissioning, finance and performance

· To establish a clear and coherent strategy and approach for the commissioning and Intelligent Client Function across the directorate portfolio.

· To establish and implement an integrated approach to commissioning, contracts and quality assurance, maximising capacity and engagement at all levels to establish a consistency of approach.

· To work with the DCS and partner agencies to put in place integrated approaches to commissioning with a focus on all children in the county achieving their potential.

· To lead and be responsible for joint working with the Education departments in the two Councils, the education providers (from Early Education and Childcare to Further Education providers) to develop commissioning strategies which ensure the education provision for children of all ages is sufficient and of high quality.

· To have oversight of the end-to-end child pathways, work with partners to ensure all services provided to children and families are of high quality and provide value for money.

· To ensure there is a sufficiency of education provision and to develop strategies which maximise the protective role of quality education.

· To provide coordination and leadership in the Council in relation to the provision of support services to the Trust, including the provision of performance information.

· To ensure the Children’s Trust activities have clear business plans linked to council priorities which direct staff objectives both within the service and across the City.

· To ensure the Council is equipped at all times and open to inspection/external assessment in order to maximise opportunities to learn and enhance outcomes and levels of achievement.

· To lead on and to be fully responsible for all aspects of service delivery, performance management and quality assurance role within the directorate.

· To set and monitor the delivery of clear outcomes and performance indicators for the short, medium and long term of the function, including overall business performance and improvement targets linked to commissioning intentions and outcomes.

· To provide senior support to the DCS in the oversight of improvement plan and/ or performance failure and will work with the Trust to put in place suitable rectification.

· To embed robust financial and budgetary control mechanisms and monitoring procedures and provide regular and accurate monitoring updates.


Leadership and management

· To promote the principles that all employees are developed and supported to enable them to reach required competencies to deliver services to both national and local standards through systematic and targeted performance management.

· To lead and promote good employee relations through staff engagement and regular contact with Trade Union representatives at all levels.

· To promote the council’s core values and equal opportunities with our communities and staff through personal example, open commitment and clear action.

· To provide strong professional expertise and managerial leadership, including setting clear objectives and measures, managing performance and resources, and assessing impact/risk.

· To develop a positive working environment encouraging active involvement of employees in shaping the development and co-production of services.

· To foster a cross Council culture by ensuring the overall vision, ethos and values are central to the use of resources through introduction, development and application of appropriate organisational development strategies and delivery plans.

· To lead empowerment of managers and staff to operate within a culture of accountability and shared responsibility for generating and delivering the best possible outcomes.

· To ensure that all strategies and plans are developed in partnership with all key stakeholders and are fully communicated and shared with partners of the team.

· To provide clear, consistent and coherent leadership across the team, ensuring that there are proportionate and robust management frameworks in place to provide direction, support, guidance and positive performance management to all staff.

· To ensure that service performance and financial information are made available, understood and utilised appropriately to inform the management and review of the working arrangements between the Council and the Trust.

· To proactively contribute towards the work of the senior management teams in the Councils, providing and presenting regular reports to the DCS and Leadership Teams around the engagement and impact of internal and external service delivery.

· To support the directorate strategic planning process and in-year business plan activities to assure that all information requirements for the Leadership Teams are met.

· To deputise for the Director of Children’s Services as appropriate and to represent the Council(s) with credibility and integrity.

· To be a core member of the Senior Leadership Team