Executive Director of Children, Lifelong Learning and Families (DCS)

London Borough of Merton
Salary up to £154,500

It couldn’t be a more exciting time to work at Merton Council. We are a borough on the rise, led by a fresh and ambitious new leadership and armed with some of the boldest transformation plans in London. Merton encompasses the towns of Colliers Wood, Mitcham, Morden and Wimbledon and is home to a vibrant, growing population of more than 220,000. We are proud custodians of some of the best sporting heritage in the world and Merton’s connectivity is unbeatable in south London; we are at the start of both the Northern and District Tube lines, which offer direct access into central London in just 20 minutes. We are a borough going places – we have a brand-new blueprint for the future that will see us unlock the full potential of our borough and build a better Merton together, putting the needs of our residents at the heart of everything we do.


Our Executive Director for Children, Lifelong Learning and Families (CLLF) has announced her retirement, and we are seeking a new leader for our Outstanding (Ofsted 2022) Children’s Services.

As our statutory Director of Children’s Services, you will lead Children’s Social Care, our innovative youth participation team, our Education services to our family of Merton schools, lifelong learning, and our network of creative and ambitious partnership relationships, through which we deliver the best services to our children, young people, and families. Here in Merton, our professional practice is founded on a bedrock of compassionate, relationship-based, and inclusive leadership. This is an incredible opportunity to lead a service that is both stable, and high-achieving.

Our mission in Merton is to cultivate a place where children and young people feel they belong, stay safe and can thrive. Children in Merton are protected, championed and nurtured by our staff of highly qualified social workers, who are celebrated for their innovation and who are incredibly proud of the work they do, which is both fundamental in approach and sophisticated in delivery. We put children’s voices at the heart of everything we do in a model established by CLLF and now recognised and repeated across the council, with young people embedded in public health and in the council’s scrutiny process.

Merton is renowned for incredibly strong multi-agency partnership working – rooted in respect, challenge and support. It has been recognised by Ofsted. And we know it works because our schools and academies have chosen to stay close to the council. In CLLF, we are one team, with a fully integrated system across both Education and Children’s services, finding solutions together, and buoyed and challenged by continuous learning. We do this because we know this is the best way to keep our children safe. We make sure our social workers have manageable caseloads and that they have great access to training and professional development, allowing them to always keep our children and families at the centre of their practice, and giving them the space to be innovative.

The council is looking for an exceptional leader who can embody those values; who has the tenacity and vision to develop this already exceptional directorate; work collaboratively across the council; and who can seamlessly integrate the statutory changes that lie ahead, including the ‘Stable Homes Built On Love’ agenda.


For further details, please see the role profile below and select the 'click here' button to visit LB Merton's recruitment website. For more information please contact Penny Ransley on: 07549 233685 or: penny.ransley@starfishsearch.com.

ROLE PROFILE     Merton Recruitment Pack     CLICK HERE

Closing date: 15th March 2024

Meeting to agree a longlist: w/c 18th March 2024

Technical interviews: 26th/27th March 2024

Meeting to agree a shortlist: w/c 8th April 2024

1:1 with CEX : 15/16th April 2024

Final panel: 22nd/23rd April 2024 TBC