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A suggested New Year resolution

It’s January 4th and the first day back at work after the Christmas and New Year holidays and I’m sat here thinking what I should write. I could do a to do list, but that feels too much like New Year resolutions, which I avoid every year, so instead, I have reflected on this last year working with the Association of Directors of Children’s Services.

When I became a Head of Service some 8 years ago, I joined the ADCS, but didn’t really participate much. I mainly got the regular updates which were, and still are, a great source of information.

Then about two years ago, I asked if I could join the Families, Communities and Young People Policy Committee, expecting to be told ‘there is a waiting list’ or ‘it’s for Directors only’. I was welcomed into the committee straight away and have met some truly fantastic Assistant Directors, Directors and other colleagues there. The committee is well attended and I have been able to contribute to policy debate and shaping the Association’s positions on many key issues that affect all of us day in and day out, as well as getting key analysis and insight into the latest issues and thinking.

So when an Elected Director position on the ADCS Board of Directors came up a year ago, I decided to throw my hat in, again, not expecting to be elected, but being delighted when I was. I was welcomed onto the Board by all and even though I was an Assistant Director on a board made up mainly of Directors, I have felt my contribution has always been welcome. It has been a fantastic and fascinating year.

In this year I have contributed to the work of the ADCS in many ways including through policy documents, shaping debate on many issues and representing the position of the organisation to other professionals and agencies. In July’s ADCS annual conference I delivered a closed session on children in care and education, helping change the narrative on educational outcomes so that they focus more on better than expected progress. I have also represented the ADCS on a national enquiry into children in care and custody chaired by Lord Laming, ensuring the protective nature of care for many children is recognised as well as the challenges. I have met senior DfE and Ofsted officials and had more opportunities than I ever expected.

Yes, it is time out, yes it is busy, but yes it is worthwhile and the secret bit is it has immensely helped my own confidence, knowledge, development and leadership.

The ADCS is a membership organisation for Directors and the two tiers below – so why not get involved? You can and it’s a two way street. More information about the policy committees is on the website, give it a go. I have found that in most things in life, you get out what you put in, and it’s the same with the ADCS.

So, although I may not be setting a New Year resolution for myself, I am encouraging you to adopt one! I hope you do and hopefully we will meet at some committee or event in the near future!


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