The secret of success

By Dave Hill | 30 January 2019

I find myself (again!) presiding over a children’s service, this time in Surrey, in need of root and branch transformation. Recent history has seen a core of around 30 children’s services at any time on the ‘naughty step’ for failing services. Almost invariably the antecedents of failure are complex. We all accept that, as with any failing endeavour, leadership is a central driver of success. However, as with the once-trendy phenomenon of ‘super-heads’ for failing schools, the idea that leadership is a golden bullet for success is naively over-simplistic.

In truth, too many of the failures were predictable and almost always ‘called out’ via the Ofsted inspection process. This is a difficult and sometimes brutal process for the children’s services on the receiving end. The iterations of Ofsted inspection regimes have been ever more forensic in their approach. Gone are the days of the Safeguarding and Looked-After Children (SLAC), where a few well-rehearsed stakeholder groups could win the day.

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