Assistant Director: Early Help and Prevention

Reports to the Executive Director of Children’s Services

Job Purpose

To provide leadership and strategic direction to the newly established Early Help and Prevention services.

To work with key local partners, eg CCGs, District Councils and the voluntary sector, to define, establish and deliver or commission services meeting the needs for each locality.

Be a member of the department's Senior Management Team with a shared responsibility for the overall management of the department and a member of the County Management Team with a shared responsibility to lead and support corporate priorities.

To be an advocate for children and young people in all aspects of the work

Principal Accountabilities

Corporate Leadership

Be a member of Children’s Services Management Team sharing in the delivery of statutory responsibilities and delivering key department and county council objectives and performance targets.

Works closely with Members providing advice and information on improving outcomes for children and young people, to support effective strategy and decision making to meet the best interests of children and young people in Norfolk.

Thinks ambitiously and innovatively for the long term improvement in outcomes for Norfolk’s children.

Strategic Management

Lead the strategic development of Early Help and Prevention services ensuring multi-disciplinary child centred approaches that recognise and value family strengths and builds on these to change of behaviours and relationships to reduce risk, improve children’s family life, avoid escalation and allow them to remain in universal provision.

Work closely with District Councils, CCGs and other partners to implement a differentiated model of Early Help based on local need that.identifies, assesses and provides targeted support to children, young people and families in need of help;

The Early Help offer is anticipated to be a mix of directly delivered and commissioned services agreed with partners.

This post will work closely with a parallel post in Adult Services to develop ‘a think family’ approach to prevention.

Operational and Programme Leadership

Lead Early Help and Prevention services to provide quality, cost effective services which achieve the strategy aims and meet the needs of children in Norfolk for:

  • Additional needs, including Education Psychology
  • Localities Early Help, Family Focus, Targeted Support and CAF Teams
  • Clinical Commissioning Team
  • Youth Offending Team

Provide professional clear leadership, support and development to service staff to ensure that relevant professional standards are met.

Ensure appropriate people management practices are in place for the recruitment, management, coaching, development and accountability for performance of staff, and with due regard to Health and Safety.

Representation and communication

To promote the voice of the child through increasing opportunities for involvement in service design and planning

Develop close working relationships with other agencies and public service providers, building successful working relationships to achieve improved outcomes for Norfolk children and young people.

Ensure effective communication, with public, Members and partners.

Ensure a customer service ethos which delivers high standards of customer care in responding to customer comments and complaints.

Key Performance Outcomes

Strong, successful partnership working arrangements leading locality services meeting local need and which facilitate a co-ordinated multi-agency Early Help and Prevention service that is speedy, responsive and high quality.

Effective joint working arrangements with Adult Social Services to address unmet need in adults that leads to increased risk to children.

Expand services supporting emotional wellbeing and create a coherent pathway from universal provision to CAMHS.

Improved delivery, targeting and monitoring of Children’s Centres services to support the Early Help agenda.

Successfully implement the benefits of school social work pilot across school clusters.

Lead on developing new ways of communicating and giving access to services, help and advice through the use of new communication media and technologies.

Effective performance management, quality assurance and compliance processes are put in place.

The department's activities are co-ordinated and aligned with business planning cycles. Relationship with members, partners, both internal (eg Shared Services functions) and external (eg Police) are developed so as to secure the resources required to deliver the department's strategic objectives.

Functions directly managed are delivered effectively and to budget.

Management team receives effective and timely strategic advice, including accurate planning and performance monitoring advice.

Other Job Information

This is a politically-restricted post, and the postholder cannot be elected as a councillor in any local authority.

Information common to all Norfolk County Council job descriptions

All work performed and duties undertaken must be carried out in accordance with relevant County Council and Departmental policies and procedures, within legislation, and with regard to the needs of our customers and the diverse community we serve.

Job descriptions set out the main outcomes of the job, and will be updated only when those change.

Job holders will be expected to be flexible in their duties and carry out any other duties commensurate with the grade and falling within the general scope of the job, as requested by management.


Person Specification


  • Relevant professional qualification or equivalent to demonstrate strong knowledge and understanding of a relevant professional field.
  • Hold membership of appropriate professional body.
  • Masters level ability with significant post qualification experience of organising and delivering professional services.


  • Evidence of experience as a senior manager with a broad background in children's services and having worked across two or more service areas.
  • Experienced and confident with commissioning services, in particular with Health, managing a mix of directly managed and commissioned services
  • Successfully delivered service improvement and managed organisational change.

Skills and knowledge

Context and organisation knowledge

  • A strong corporate player, developing shared common approaches with colleagues across the council and enabling joined-up planning and shared values and objectives.

    Knowledge of:
    • the issues facing the delivery of effective educational and social care (particularly safeguarding) services to children in Norfolk
    • A clear understanding of the Ofsted framework for service delivery
    • the challenges of public service delivery in a context of rapid demographic and social change
    • local government organisation and services
    • relevant local and national service agendas and relevance to the wider social and economic environment within Norfolk.
  • Able to demonstrate political sensitivity and interpret political will in a complex political environment
  • Able to work effectively in co-operation and partnership with a wide range of organisations from the public, private and voluntary sectors.
  • Be up to date in the uses and opportunities of new media in providing access channels to children, young people and their families.
  • Commitment to and understanding of equalities issues in service delivery and employment.

Strategy, planning and issue resolution skills

  • Highly developed and complex levels of knowledge, with ability to apply analytical reasoning and develop original responses to complicated and unpredictable problems and situations.
  • Analytical skills to understand and use ‘big’ data and intelligence to build an accurate picture of service delivery and a sound evidence base for decision making.
  • Able to operate at a strategic level, planning and strategically manage services of a large and complex organisation in areas relevant to the role.

Communication skills

  • Excellent communication and diplomacy skills with the ability to build strong networks and influence and persuade senior partners and stakeholders.
  • Ability to gain the confidence of Members, senior managers, partner organisations, colleagues and employees.
  • Ability to provide a clear overview of complex issues and provide sound, professional and reliable advice in an engaging, accessible and non-technical manner orally and in writing.
  • Able to access hard to reach groups and act on their needs to effect change.
  • Operate within the Council's Leader Role profile.

Personal attributes


  • Tenacity and resilience, for example in tackling poor performance and challenging existing ways of doing things.
  • Creativity and imagination in seeing new approaches, painting the vision, overcoming obstacles and showing that ambitious goals can be achieved.
  • Commitment and passion to drive improvements to the real life experiences of children and their families.

Leadership criteria

Strategy into action - Accountability

  • Think conceptually and see the bigger picture;
  • Forge a climate where constructive challenge and the voicing of creative ideas are encouraged;
  • Know when to move from analysis to action;
  • Commitment and passion to drive improvements in the real life experiences of people in Norfolk;
  • Commitment to and understanding of equalities issues, and tenacity and resilience to see things through;
  • Able to demonstrate political awareness and sensitivity.

Commerciality - Business like

  • A commercial outlook and approach, recognising importance of value for money, and the ability to lead, develop and motivate staff and teams to effect change;
  • Able to demonstrate political awareness and sensitivity.

Data analytics - Evidence-based

  • An outcome and performance focus
  • Create meaning out of disparate or ambiguous data to inform strategic decisions;
  • Critically evaluate feasibility, cost and impact to ensure interventions are proportionate and appropriate;
  • Encourage others to support their thinking with credible data

Influencing - Collaborative

  • Creativity and imagination in seeing new approaches, painting the vision;
  • A strong corporate player;
  • Ability to gain the confidence of all stakeholders;
  • Able to work effectively in cooperation and partnership with a wide range of organisations;
  • Excellent communication and negotiating skills with the ability to present complex issues in a simple and easy to understand way.