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West Sussex Council - Principal Service Lead - SEND

West Sussex Council - Principal Service Lead - SEND

  • Location

    West Sussex, England

  • Sector:

    Social Care

  • Job type:


  • Salary:

    Up to £450 per day

  • Contact:

    Lorna Burner

  • Contact email:

  • Salary high:


  • Salary low:


  • Job ref:


  • Published:

    28 days ago

  • Duration:


  • Expiry date:


  • Startdate:


This is a significant role as part of the senior leadership team under the Assistant Director (AD) for SEND and Inclusion. It will sit alongside the Principal EP and the Service Lead for Specialist Teaching to support the AD working in partnership with the other Services across the Education and Skills Directorate and the wider Children's Services department, as well as key external partners. You will play a strategic role in driving the cultural change needed to embed inclusive practice and build parental confidence in our educational settings across the county.

It requires working at a senior level across agencies, commissioning and purchasing of health and allied services, working closely with Children's Social Care teams to provide advice and information on SEND matters. It also involves supporting senior council officers with responding to complaints and working with the legal team in tribunal cases, LGO and Judicial Review.

About the job

A key purpose of the role is to provide professional leadership as the senior manager of the service area which comprises of six teams (approximately 50 FTE staff) with related activities and similar purposes which require integration and co-ordination as a substantial county wide service which covers the 0-25 age range.

The SEN Assessment Team (SENAT) is responsible for providing the County Council with a service that coordinates assessment and placement of children with SEND in accordance with the SEND Code of Practice 2014 and Part 3 of Children and Families Act 2014. There are currently more than 5700 children with Education Health and Care Plans in West Sussex which represents an increasing number of requests for statutory assessment. This means you will have responsibility for managing a high and growing caseload and the associated resources. The role has overarching responsibility for the successful delivery of all statutory requirements as well as ensuring the service is in line with the national picture in terms adherence to deadlines, comparative growth and the picture of the placement of learners.

The SENAT is also responsible for the assessment and gatekeeping of placements made in the Independent and Non-Maintained Schools Sector and providing additional resources to schools for individual children.

The post holder will be required to meet defined functional objectives and provide efficient customer focused services which are reported into the DfE. You will need to realise service improvements now and in the future through resource planning, creative problem solving and managing workstreams within the SEND and Inclusion Strategy. This will involve analysis of current placements and future needs to develop additional placements and reduce the need for high cost placements in the independent sector.

You will work closely with the Assistant Director and finance team to influence budget savings and ensure the High Needs Budget spend is effective and efficient. The expenditure of this budget directly impacts on the wider county council resources, including those of schools.

It is an emotive service area as external customers can be unhappy with outcomes, and you will be responsible for safeguarding the entire service, all of whom could be subject to unpleasant behaviour.

What you'll need to succeed

You will need to be able to lead and inspire, providing direction and support to individuals and teams to ensure quality service delivery in an emotionally challenging environment.

You will need to have excellent listening skills and to negotiate solutions.

You will need to persuade and influence a wide range of people in order to achieve the required outcomes for effective use of resources for children with EHCPs.

You will need to challenge existing practices, processes and activities and identify and deliver innovative solutions and alternative courses of action, working across health and social care as well as education. This will engender improved partnerships at a strategic level

You will need sound partnership working skills with the ability to develop and manage effective links and relationships across and outside of the organisation and co-ordinate a range of partners to successfully deliver objectives

You will need to successfully negotiate the balancing of conflicting priorities from difference partners in other services to ensure SENAT's performance remains of a high standard and the needs of all services are balanced to ensure a joint approach to meeting children and young people's needs. This will, at times, require effective challenge and significant resilience due to level of interface inside and outside the organisation.

If you are interested in this role please send your updated CV in the first instance.