Inspiring Leaders Programme


upon is a new leaders programme, designed to grow the UK’s talent pool of future Directors of Children’s Services, and also help recently appointed Directors thrive in their new roles. Supported by the Department for Education, it’s co-created and delivered by a trusted consortium of expert partners; The Staff College, Institute of Public Care, Skills for Care and GatenbySanderson.

This innovative leaders programme has been launched in response to the DfE identifying significant challenges in attracting and retaining talented leaders in DCS roles. In 2018/19 more than 25% of UK local authorities experienced an unplanned change in DCS. And right now, the average length of tenure is only 47 months. upon aims to change that by inspiring ambitious and courageous future leaders to step up and move on into DCS roles, staying in post for longer to achieve even more positive transformation. 

We passionately offer the same level of support and encouragement to recently appointed DCSs.

Whatever past experience, our future leaders will be fired-up to develop their skills, build resilience, take responsibility and thrive as part of the next generation of positive change-makers the UK’s young people depend upon.

Jo Davidson, Director of upon, commented, “The role of a DCS is wide-ranging, challenging, yet incredibly rewarding. Due to the nature of the role, current Directors very rarely get the time to share what’s involved and just how much of an impact they make. Our aim is to demonstrate what life is like as a DCS and prepare our candidates for the journey they’ll take, stoking a fire in the belly of future leaders who truly want to make a positive change to children’s lives.”