Leader – children’s social care and safeguarding services.


A local authority required a leader for their children’s social care and safeguarding services.

Due to their location it was unlikely that a suitable candidate would be identified locally; a nation-wide search would be required and any successful candidate would have to consider either undertaking a lengthy daily commute, or relocate.

The authority had initially tried to recruit themselves but had failed to appoint; several ‘specialist’ local government recruitment agencies had then advertised the post, but again had failed to deliver. Lord were approached due to our 100% success rate at filling retained assignments.

It was imperative that the successful candidate would be capable and experienced – a strong leader was required to manage the team and address the significant issues and challenges that the children’s service faced. In the words of our client, this was “not a learning opportunity.”

A competent interim manager was in post – but in times of austerity this was unpopular with elected members, and did not represent a long-term solution.

Having been introduced to the Managing Director by a trusted mutual contact, our initial task was to listen to what was needed and propose a solution that would guarantee the desired outcome.


LORD have not failed to deliver a retained assignment in over 20 years; having recruited senior social care positions across a variety of London Boroughs, County Councils, City Councils, Metropolitan Borough Councils and Unitaries the length and breadth of the country, the LORD team were not about to fail in this critical assignment.

We explored the brief, agreed the most important selection criteria for the position, and challenged our client’s previous method of assessing and interviewing candidates.

It was important that, with three failed recruitment exercises, that candidates were given the opportunity to learn more about the authority. Time was taken to thoroughly explain what the role would entail and what the impact it would have on them personally and on their careers.

We recommended that as the role wasn’t confidential the most reliable method of identifying and engaging with the right candidates was to

  • Complete a headhunt into a number of specifically targeted organisations.
  • Devise a targeted online advertising campaign
  • Search of all the relevant specialist candidate databases.

Following our methodology we identified and researched 88 potential candidates, 32 were engaged, 9 were invited to attend a first interview and 4 were subsequently shortlisted to meet with our client.

The 4 short-listed candidates attended an assessment centre designed to allow our client to assess each candidate, but also to ensure that each candidate had an opportunity to learn more about the authority, the role and have any reservations promptly addressed. This way we could be sure that any candidates going further in the process was committed and would accept if offered.


It was clear through the course of the interviews that 2 candidates stood out from their peers, with very little to choose between them. We facilitated a review each candidate’s performance across the various stages of the interview process which had included personality, verbal and numerical assessment, as well as the interviews with our client, a stakeholders’ panel and a service users’ panel.

Following the review it was agreed that the candidate with the most relevant experience of service redesign was to be offered.

Having worked closely with all of the candidates during the recruitment process, we had a clear understanding of what each wanted to achieve from a career move, we were therefore well-placed to advise on an offer/remuneration/relocation package.


Lord provided a comprehensive and robust recruitment process tailored to meet client specific concerns and requirements. We delivered a strong shortlist of suitable candidates within five weeks of proposal sign off.

The successful candidate has since restructured and redesigned the services that she leads. This has improved the outcomes for service users, particularly the large number of looked after children that are resident in the county. LORD has subsequently been retained by the organisation to recruit for more key positions in the new team.


As a potential candidate I had not considered applying for the post due to the location of the authority. However by the end of the initial discussion about the position I was left feeling very excited and engaged believing this was an Authority I wanted to work for, and importantly that I had exactly the right skills and knowledge to bring to the role.

When later I wanted to recruit to my team, I wanted potential candidates to experience the same positive engagement and support I had received, so that as the employer I had as many people as possible in the pool of potential candidates, all of whom were supported and encouraged to perform to the best of their ability.

After only three weeks of giving the brief, we selected three candidates to interview – this is really impressive at a time when it is difficult to find good people in this field, especially for an authority that finds it difficult to recruit because of its location. I was very pleased with the pool of candidates (I could have appointed all three) and we made a very successful appointment.