Director of Community Solutions - London Borough of Barking and Dagenham
London Borough of Barking & Dagenham
Salary: £122,412

Imagine that you could reinvent public services from scratch

This fundamentally lies behind the principle of Community Solution - so that you didn’t have to pick up the pieces when families unravel – but you could start work when it was easier to have an impact, upstream of problems before they became acute. Imagine you could bring together the alphabet soup of acronyms of the different welfare agencies and council departments – so that they didn’t have to argue about the boundaries of the services their targets allow them to shape, but could tackle everything, and do so early. That is Community Solutions. Its fundamental purpose is to help people to help themselves – to enable people to realise their own aspirations without the need for continual, expensive, external interventions.

Community Solutions has four key objectives that underpin everything:

Resolve early – focus on prevention and early intervention to prevent escalation and crisis

We must fundamentally change the offer and make it holistic, centred around the needs of users as they are perceived, not the requirements of the system. This means easy ways into information and facts online, first contact resolution for many and for those that need more, staff with a greater range of capabilities, enabled to take rapid but informed decisions on appropriate actions with and on behalf of residents.

Increase resilience – support well-resourced communities, households and individuals to tackle entrenched social issues and to be independent by finding ways to help themselves

Instead of “what am I eligible for?” the conversation needs to move to “what support do I need to get me on my feet again?” Community Solutions will provide information, advice and guidance, always with a view to making it easier for people to help themselves. The offer will be more compelling than the status quo, changing behaviours with a plan to consistently foster greater independence. To increase resilience, we will work with partners in the community to support people to reduce risk.

To reduce demand we must not only understand and react to need, but understand the source and manage demand positively

Insight and intelligence will drive action. We will encourage increases in some demand – use of our online information, access to libraries or use of welfare reform services - to build resilience. At the same time, we will be clear that people who need our support and intervention services will have appropriate access to them, whilst doing all we can to make as many people as possible self-reliant and out of these expensive services.

To realise savings we will move as many services to online and digital as possible, streamline customer access and work with people to give them advice and support that helps them stay out of intervention services

Our universal service offer will include mediated and assisted support to the digitally excluded to help them to help themselves where appropriate, and our intervention service will target the residents with complex needs and work towards migrating them into packages of support as soon as possible.

Community Solutions brings together teams - some 400 staff - which used to be responsible for worklessness, skills, poverty, debt, mental health, homelessness, domestic violence, antisocial behaviour, youth, libraries and family support, and be first point of contact for adult and children’s social care, all of which used to be tackled separately and therefore more expensively. Community Solutions allows them to be taken together and to mentor and support individuals and families to help them be more self-reliant, and provide some measure of mutual support. It means there will soon be no traditional housing service, nor anti-social behaviour unit or library service in Barking and Dagenham.

We are looking to recruit an experienced leader who can help us to achieve our ambitions, by providing clear leadership, direction and vision to a radically redesigned service built around residents, not traditional departmental groupings, that will provide the main contact and access point for a wide range of frontline people services.

The Director will manage a large frontline operational staff group and need to ensure continuous improvement by rethinking and then implementing changes in roles, working practices, culture and services to meet changing resident needs and public sector responsibilities.

You will have substantial relevant leadership experience at a senior level in a local authority or other large organisation with experience of successfully delivering high levels of customer service.

For further information please speak in confidence to our retained consultants at Berwick Partners;

Marek Dobrowolski on 0121 654 5912 /


Ruth Hermandez Turner on 0121 654 5936 /

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