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ADCS DCS update 2022

The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) today, Tuesday 19 April, publishes the directors of children’s services (DCS) update 2022 using data from the Association’s membership year 1 April 2021 to 31 March 2022.

ADCS has gathered and recorded detailed information about changes in post holders of the statutory DCS role since the Association was established in 2007. We also record the number of directors who hold both statutory roles of DCS and director of adult social services, referred to as ‘twin hat’ arrangements. The report offers some year-on-year comparisons, several of which date back to 2007, in order to highlight trends and patterns of change.

Steve Crocker, ADCS President, said:

“Stability and continuity in leadership is important in any organisation, and this is also true for the delivery of services to children and their families locally. During 2021/22 there were a total of 47 changes in DCS post-holder which is exactly in line with the average number of total changes we would expect to see per-year. The data shows that over three quarters of local authorities (76%) did not experience a change in their DCS across the reporting period, alongside more permanent DCS appointments being made across the 12-month period compared to the one before.

“Succession planning is increasingly important in the complex world of children’s services, and all children’s services departments are looking at how they can develop and nurture the talent of future senior leaders. It is positive to see experience and expertise remaining within the sector and the data shows nearly all (17) of those being appointed as a permanent DCS in 2021/2022 were stepping up from assistant director/second tier level. Due to the statutory nature of the role, there must be a single and ultimate line of accountability for outcomes for children and young people in a locality at any given time and the use of short term interim arrangements being made prior to a permanent appointment is commonplace.

“There has been a continued downward trend of local authorities moving away from ‘twin hat’ arrangements. Our membership data shows as of 31 March 2022, there were 22 ‘twin hat’ directors, the lowest number since 2010. Local authorities continue to combine and disaggregate services to meet local needs and since ADCS started recording DCS changes over two thirds (108 of 152) of local authorities have had a ‘twin hat’ director at some point. It is likely this picture will change as local authorities consider which arrangements are best for them. What remains important is that there is always a DCS in place who remains accountable for the outcomes for children’s outcomes locally.

“As in previous years, ADCS has collected gender and ethnicity data from DCSs to better understand the characteristics and to provide greater visibility to diversity in the DCS community. However, there is more that we can understand about our members and ADCS is currently undertaking an exercise gathering wider diversity data from across the entire membership. There remains not enough directors from Black and other ethnic backgrounds across the country, however, we know that leadership programmes within the sector are directly addressing this issue. It is vitally important that our workforce reflects our communities, a person’s ethnicity, gender or disability is irrelevant to their capability to do the job.”


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