Head of Practice
Our Heads of Practice provide inspirational leadership to our teams, ensuring the delivery of high quality services and practice across a geographical area. A Head of Practice is responsible for leading practice improvement internally and influencing local delivery partners. Other duties might involve work on strategic or complex operational matters. Ultimately the focus of the role is to ensure that Cafcass priorities, policies and plans are delivered to the highest possible standard to ensure positive outcomes for children and young people.
How we work
All of our Heads of Practice receive a laptop or tablet device and a smart phone. This allows a flexible approach to work. Staff can work from an office, court, or home, however because of the geographical spread of our sites, a certain amount of travel will be required.
What you need
To be able to carry out this work you will be social work qualified, registered with the HCPC as a social worker in England, with experience of working with children and families.
Our work is demanding, therefore you will need to be resilient and organised, with strong IT skills and excellent verbal and written communication skills.
Importantly, you must be able to demonstrate success in managing within a social work setting. You must have the experience and credibility to influence others and drive forward continuous improvement.
What we offer
You’ll have a work environment where we will support your continuing learning and development and you’ll receive a great rewards and benefits package that focuses on you and your wellbeing.
In return for your skills and commitment we offer a privileged role – being a practice leader in the UK’s largest social work employer and supporting the voice of the child in the family court for some of the most vulnerable children in England.
Spencer Hird, Head of Practice
“I started working for Cafcass in 2004 as a Service Manager. Prior to this I’d had local authority experience as a team and service manager. The work is very different. You still have the satisfaction of providing the very best outcomes for some of the most vulnerable children in our society, but you work within a very clear, time limited court structure which suited me down to the ground.
“I’ve enjoyed the diverse range of work in Cafcass. My previous experience was in public law but the other half of our work here is in private law and one of the key learning experiences for me is how we support the often hidden swathe of children affected by parental separation and conflict.
“Cafcass is keen to support the career aspirations of its staff and my career in Cafcass has provided me with numerous promotion opportunities: from Enhanced Service Manager to Senior Service Manager. At the beginning of this year I accepted the post of Head Practice. This gave me the opportunity to lead in a number of service areas and be part of the Operational Management Team to influence developments nationally. As a manager in Cafcass there is a real sense of being able to influence best practice, lead innovation and be close to the key decision makers in Government.
“Cafcass looks after its staff. The last few years have seen the implementation of an effective Health and Wellbeing service that has supported staff and enabled managers to draw on a variety of resources to develop personal resilience. It’s not just words, it works. Cafcass has some of the lowest sickness rates in the social work sector.
“It’s both an exciting and challenging time for family justice, budgets are tight and the need to innovate and represent the interests for vulnerable children subject to family proceedings has never been greater.”
Michelle Evans, Head of Practice
“I have worked for Cafcass since 2004, initially as a Family Court Adviser and had previously worked as a local authority social worker in frontline child protection teams.
“I became a Service Manager in 2009 and Senior Service Manager in 2014 and, more recently, have been appointed as Head of Practice. My responsibilities now include supporting my Assistant Director in ensuring high quality service delivery across a wide geographical area in the North West and also in supporting the development of our Practice Supervisors in these areas with the aim of creating a context for excellent practice. As Head of Practice I take a lead on improvement and deliver on our ‘Getting to Good’ and ‘Getting to Outstanding’ programmes.
“While the role of Head of Practice is challenging, it enables me to play a significant part in shaping and improving the agency’s frontline service to children and families; through creating the context for excellent practice in which high standards are expected and celebrated and in which we develop the best practitioners. This makes for an immensely satisfying job at both a personal and professional level and I have been supported by managers at all levels in continuing to develop in my roles.”