Inspiring Leaders Programme

Should you apply?

We’re looking for inspiring new leaders that children can depend upon.

Here’s an outline of some of the experience and character that would make an ideal future DCS:

  • A strong moral purpose and passion to champion children and young people and their outcomes.
  • At least 3 years effective senior strategic leadership and management experience in local government children’s services or related fields and sectors, though perhaps you feel you still want to consolidate your knowledge across the different component areas or be more confident in applying leadership skills to a more diverse range of services.
  • If you fit these criteria, and you think you have the potential to become a Director of Children’s Services within the next three years then apply.

We will be giving priority to those who have the potential to become a Director in the next three years, but if you are interested, apply anyway as we are building up a talent pool for future years.

How to Apply

Registering and creating an account

If you are not already registered, you will need to create an account at by clicking the ‘Register’ button on the right. Complete the details on the registration form and choose a password. Please note that your username is the email address you have provided. Keep these safe as you will need your account details to access your application and receive messages from us securely.

Once you have set up an account, you can log in at any time using your email address and the password you have created.

Should we need to communicate anything urgent with you throughout the process, we'll do this via a notification messages which can be accessed in your account. We'll send you emails to alert you to a new message, but you will need to login to your account to access it. Occasionally, these messages can go into your spam folder, so please check this regularly. This is to protect your privacy.

Please make sure that you have downloaded and read the 'Should you apply?' document before you click on the blue ‘Apply Now’ button to continue.

Note: If you have already started the application, you don't have to complete this in one session. Simply click log out and return later. The application has an auto save function. When you come to picking up where you left off, you must apply through this site again and the application will pick up where you left off.

We recommend that you prepare your written question responses and video personal statement in advance.

Things to complete in your application:
As part of your application, you will be asked to complete the following steps. If you are unclear on how best to approach these, please try to sign-up for one of our webinars for further information and top tips on what to prepare and think about in advance.

1. Competency questions 

You will be asked three questions around the following which are designed to assess your suitability:

  • Your knowledge of Children's Services
  • Your focus on delivering continuous improvement, and sustainable impact.
  • Your experience of functional and corporate leadership reflecting the needs of diverse communities

When answering these questions, ensure that your examples demonstrate relevance and transferability to the Aspirant Directors Programme. You should aim to draw out tangible evidence to answer the question.

Each question will have a word limit which will be displayed on the online application. Please ensure you stick to the required word limit.

The application form will not tell you once you have reached your word limit. It is advisable to first type up your answers in a word document and then transfer this across to the online application form.

2. Video Personal Statement 

We would love to hear you talk about why you would like to be a DCS, your commitment and engagement to joining the programme.

We will ask you to film a (maximum) 2-minute personal statement telling us why you want to be a DCS.

We advise you to think through your key messages in advance, but don’t over-script this. This is about being you.

3. Monitoring information

We value equality and diversity and we are committed to ensuring our processes and procedures are fair, transparent and free from unlawful discrimination. We are fully committed to making the process accessible at all stages for all applicants. Please contact us as soon as possible to discuss any  individual requirements or reasonable adjustments you might need to assist with your application.

To ensure we are treating candidates fairly, we monitor diversity at all stages of the appointments process. The application process includes an online equal opportunities monitoring form.  The information provided will be treated as strictly confidential and held securely in line with data protection and other relevant legislation and will be used for monitoring purposes only. It will not be seen by anyone directly involved in the selection process and it will not be treated as part of your application. No information will be published or used in any way which allows any individuals to be identified 
by anyone directly involved in the selection process and will not be treated as part of your application. 

4. Your CV

 Once you have completed the monitoring information, you will then be asked for some personal credentials such as your full name, address, contact number and email address before being asked to upload a copy of your CV.

5. Letter of support 

If your application is successful and you are offered a place on the programme, you will be required to have a declaration letter of support from your employer signed. Your place on the programme will be contingent on getting this document signed and returned to us by the given deadline.

It is important that your employer is able to give you the support needed to undertake the programme and it is worthwhile having the conversation early to make sure they can support you throughout.

Once your application has been submitted, you cannot retrieve it to make any further amends, so ensure you are happy that it is fully complete before submitting. Please also allow yourself sufficient time to complete the process, particularly if you are unfamiliar with online recruitment processes.

You will be able to view your application in full before confirming your submission, this will be your last opportunity to make any amends.

Once, submitted, you will see a confirmation screen acknowledging your application. You will also receive an email to the email address you provided, confirming receipt of your application. If you do not receive an email, please make contact with GatenbySanderson on

Dealing with your queries

We are committed to processes and procedures that are fair, transparent and free from discrimination. Queries about any aspect of the process will be monitored, recorded and promptly handled. If you have any queries about the process, please contact


We are looking for inspiring new leaders that children can depend upon. If you are interested in applying for our upon programme and would like to know more information about what’s involved and how to apply,  we will be holding an online webinar on Thursday 7th June 2022 at 10am. 
During the webinar you will hear from those that helped develop and deliver the programme, discuss what the programme entails in detail, and there will also be plenty of opportunities for you to ask any questions you might have. We will also provide hints and tips on what to prepare as part of the application process and what to think about in advance.

You can register your interest for a webinar here.

We look forward to you joining one of the events.