Thank you for your interest in the role of Director of Children’s Services and Skills here at Solihull.
We are seeking an experienced professional to join my Corporate Leadership Team and provide strategic direction and leadership to the agenda for children and young people in Solihull.
Our new Director will be joining a passionate organisation that really cares about their colleagues and our residents. One of my greatest pleasures is getting to work with fantastic people across the Council as we strive to deliver great services for our residents, all 220,000 of them.
Our vision for Solihull is that it remains a place where everyone has an equal chance to be healthier, happier, safer and prosperous and my leadership team should embody this vision in every way.
We are passionate about shaping and creating great places to live, work and visit. With dedicated colleagues, active councillors and the support of a lead Cabinet Member to promote our agendas, we are all proud of our Borough and endeavour to deliver on our commitments and reach the highest standards.
I very much hope that you pursue this opportunity to work with us in a role where you can make a real difference to the lives of so many, ensuring that every child and young person has a great chance to succeed, and where children and families are healthy, safe and achieve their full potential.
We are currently looking to recruit a new Director of Children’s Services & Skills.
On this website, you will find a little bit more about what it is like to work for us; from our vision and priorities to our challenges and opportunities. Have a read through and see whether you can help us to achieve our ambitions.
For more information on Children’s Services in Solihull, take a look at our directorate service delivery plan.
Follow these links to view the senior management structure of Solihull Council and the senior management structure for Children's Services & Skills.
To see where we aim to be in 2020, please go to ‘Further Reading’ where you can find a link to our Council Plan.
Solihull is a place of contrasts. It is repeatedly rated as one of the best places to live in the UK and we celebrate this accolade and take advantage of all the benefits it brings. However, the headline masks some challenges, none more so than the inequality gap between the north and south of the borough.
We know that Solihull is well placed economically, that people aspire to live and work here, and that this leads to the perception that some of the social challenges are less and easier to tackle than in other parts of our region and country. Whilst this is true in part, it is also the legacy of strong leadership, ambitious foresight/planning and Silihillian endeavour over 30 or more years.
This collection of qualities and characteristics continue to define and distinguish the place and people of Solihull today and will carry us forward to make it an even better and more equal place.
Here is a snapshot of what makes the borough a great place to live, learn, work and play, the challenges it faces and the opportunity that this contrast presents us.
Great things about Solihull
Attractive environment - Two thirds of the borough (11,500 hectares) is green belt which is why we have the motto 'Urbs in Rure' – town in country.
Existing regionally and nationally significant economic assets and transport infrastructure - Solihull has the most productive economy in the West Midlands in terms of Gross Value Added (GVA) per head of population and per workforce job. In fact, GVA per workforce job has increased by 6% since 2011. These economic assets support over 100,000 jobs.
Aspirational housing - with values consistently above the regional average.
Excellent schools and education opportunities - School attainment at Key Stage 2 and Key Stage 4 is above the national average. 35% of Solihull education providers are deemed outstanding against an England average of 21%.
The fastest growing labour market outside of London - Private sector employment grew by 26% (+19,800) between 2010 and 2015.
Good Social Cohesion - 83% of respondents to the Solihull Place Survey 2016 agree that people from different backgrounds get on well together in their local area.
Challenges facing the borough
The persistent health inequality gaps across the borough - Although life expectancy in Solihull as a whole is above the national average and compares well to similar areas, those in deprived areas become disabled younger, live with disability longer and die younger than those in affluent neighbourhoods. Solihull’s life expectancy gap is growing (currently 11.0 years for males and 11.1 for females).
Population growth - The borough’s population will grow by around 23,000 by 2033 which will put considerable pressure on transport, housing, education and public service infrastructure. It is expected that a further 6,000 extra households will be formed in Solihull in the next 10 years (an increase of 7%). There is widespread shortage of homes which are affordable and homes which are suitable for older people, especially the increasing numbers living alone.
Managing growth - Delivering economic growth at the scale envisaged in our ambitions without having negative local environmental and wider quality of life impacts – thus maintaining our town in country and Urbs in Rure ethos.
Supporting our vulnerable residents and those with complex needs - In particular, enabling these residents to benefit from the economic success and prosperity of the borough and avoiding social isolation.
Our vision is for Solihull to be a place ‘where everyone has an equal chance to be healthier, happier, safer and prosperous’. This underpins our priorities and helps to focus policy development.
We deliver a wide range of services that are essential to the safety, wellbeing and quality of life of local people and we will continue to deliver these services to the highest standard, whilst at the same time ensuring the most effective use of our resources.
There are also a number of key areas where we are aiming to deliver an improvement in performance and we have identified these as our Top 4 Priorities. We believe that significant improvements in these four areas will have a major impact on the delivery of improved outcomes for local people.
Our Top 4 priorities are:
- Improve Health and Wellbeing
- Managed Growth
- Build Stronger Communities
- Deliver Value
Some of our challenges include:
- Rising demand for the majority of our services. If we look at adult social care in particular we see that life expectancy at aged 65 is rising at a faster rate than disability free life expectancy, meaning that people are living for longer with ill health and disability. This will increase the numbers of frail older people with multiple and complex care needs. This rising demand is set against a backdrop of diminishing resources and increased and unrelenting expectation – from residents, customers and partners.
- The reduction in civic participation. We know that more people in Solihull disagree that they can influence local decisions than agree, although this is also an issue nationally.
- Partnership complexity. There is an imperative to look for system wide and integrated solutions to our challenges and this requires us to improve the way we navigate the complexity of partnerships – local, sub-regional, regional. We know we need to develop the agility, skills, insight and strategic partnerships in order to succeed in this complex environment.
- Our ability to plan for the long term when national policy setting is increasingly short term.
- Balancing the freedoms of self-sufficiency and devolution alongside the transfer of risk from central to local government.
Maximising those opportunities
Solihull's opportunity - great lives
To really use the benefits of its economic growth to improve the wellbeing of its residents.
The Council's opportunity - great services
To position itself as the leader of place, people and public services in Solihull.
We know that securing economic growth is not an end in itself, but is a means of achieving wellbeing, inclusion and shared prosperity – it is two sides of the same coin, a metaphor and principle we have put at the heart of our strategic direction, policy making and leadership of the borough, its people and public service reform.
It is also a principle that Solihull has promoted through its constituent member role of the West Midlands Combined Authority. When people are better off, they tend to be healthier and have a greater sense of wellbeing, as they do if they feel part of a strong and connected community.
Our attention needs to be on both sides of the coin simultaneously and we have adopted these core principles* to help us maintain that attention:
- The creation of high quality jobs and employment opportunities through proactive shaping of the labour market.
- The prioritisation of connectivity i.e. transport, digital and social networks.
- Viewing the people of Solihull as an asset and investing in them. That means supporting them from the outset and at the transition points in their lives.
- Seeing the engagement of the people of Solihull as an opportunity to generate knowledge.
- Getting the economic development fundamentals right and making sure we maintain our focus on the small incremental changes/projects alongside our major flagship schemes like UK Central.
- Being prepared to innovate in a way that creates opportunities for shared leadership and ownership within the Council and with our partners.
- The two sides of the same coin metaphor and the core principles are weaved into our strategic direction, focus and delivery.
*Based on the principles in 'How international cities lead inclusive growth agendas' from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Jan 2017.
The quality services we provide on a daily basis play a major role in achieving our vision, but we also need to give ourselves a focus on those areas which will make the most impact, which will target our challenges and maintain our focus on both sides of coin.
These are our 4 inter-connected priorities and the 12 outcomes for the borough, our people, our communities and the Council we expect to see in 2020.
These outcomes will not happen on their own so we are putting our energy and resources into the 18 key delivery programmes designed to make the necessary step changes and breakthroughs.
Although each of these programmes are aligned to a particular priority, the reality is that each one cuts across and contributes to a number of priorities as shown in our plan. Our strategic business planning approach and leadership structures are designed to ensure that all of our priorities and key programmes are developed and delivered in a cross-Council and, where necessary, cross-partner way.
Each of these programmes has a number of specific actions (we call them tactics) to be delivered in 2018. These make up the next level of our business planning and cascade through the organisation so that teams and individuals can be clear on what their individual priorities are and how they collectively deliver our Council Plan.
For more information about the Council and other useful reading please take a look at the following additional documents and links:
- UK Central website
- Solihull Council website
- Council Plan 2018-2020
- Medium Term Financial Strategy 2018/19-2020/21
- Corporate Structure Charts
- Solihull Joint Strategic Needs Assessment 2016-17 Summary
- Safer Solihull Strategic Assessment 2016
- Solihull Place Survey 2016
- Solihull People & Place – Summary November 2016
The present Metropolitan Borough of Solihull has existed since 1 April 1974 when the Local Government Act 1972 came into force and created the Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council.
This new Metropolitan Borough was formed by merging the old County Borough of Solihull with parts of Stratford and Meriden Rural District Councils. The new borough incorporated the civil parishes of Balsall, Barston, Berkswell, Castle Bromwich, Chelmsley Wood, Fordbridge, Hampton-in-Arden, Hockley Heath, Kingshurst and Meriden, covering a total area of 44,495 acres with a population of 206,700*.
Solihull has been voted as one of the best places to live in the UK. As one of the most prosperous towns in the Midlands, almost 70 percent of our borough is designated as green belt. We enjoy great communication links with the M40, M42 and M6 all close by and an excellent network of railways plus, of course, an international airport.
We are home to the award winning Touchwood Shopping Centre, National Exhibition Centre and the Genting Arena including Resorts World.
Did you know?
- The name Solihull probably derives from the Old English sol hyll meaning 'muddy hill'.
- People born in Solihull are referred to as ‘Silhillians’.
- Solihull's motto is 'Urbs in Rure' which translates as 'the town in the country'.
- The National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull houses the largest collection of British motorcycles in the world: 1,000 machines from 171 different manufacturers.
- Solihull has over 1,500 acres of parks and open spaces - 14 of which hold the Green Flag Award status.
- As well as Jaguar Land Rover, Solihull is also home to the Genting Arena, NEC and Birmingham Airport.
- Traditionally, Meriden (one of the villages in Solihull) has been considered the geographical centre of England.
Famous Silhillians include:
- Author - John Wyndham
- Actors - Stephanie Cole, Lucy Davis, Felicity Kendal
- Presenters - Simon Mayo, Richard Hammond
- Newsreaders - Michael Buerk, Lizo Mzimba
- Sportsperson - Martin Johnson (former England rugby captain)
- Comedian - Stewart Lee