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About the What Works Centre for Children’s Social Care

This is a new project to foster evidence-informed practice. With £10m funding from the Department for Education, the Centre is currently being established by a development team and its research partner. The development team is a consortium, led by Nesta and its Alliance for Useful Evidence, in partnership with the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE), FutureGov and the consultancy Traversum. The Centre will become a fully independent organisation by summer 2020. It will develop a strong evidence base around effective interventions and practice systems in children’s social care, and support their implementation by practitioners and decision makers. Its goal will be to improve outcomes for children and their families by supporting translation of evidence into better practice on the ground. For more information, click here.

About the role

This role will lead on developing and delivering the prototyping programme: testing and designing different approaches to creating, understanding and using evidence. This work will be undertaken in partnership with the partner local authorities, the rest of the development team, and our research partner.

Terms: 6 month contract with possible extension, part time up to 3 days per week as required. Competitive salary.

Main duties:

● Overseeing the successful delivery of prototyping activities at the What Works Centre’s partner local authorities (initially three-to-six sites, commencing July)

● Building on the extensive work of the Development Team, developing and taking ownership of the prototyping work stream plan

● Working in partnership with the Organisation Design function and others in the Development Team and Research Partner, to maintain and develop a pipeline of further prototypes

● Identifying leads for individual pieces of work within the programme team and holding these team members accountable for delivery (matrix management)

● Developing client relationships with local authority partners and acting as an ambassador for the prototyping programme and the What Works Centre as a whole

● Regularly reporting on the progress of the prototyping programme

● Attending steering group meetings to report on progress and receive input on shaping the workstream plan

● Representing the What Works Centre at external events

Person Specification


● Excellent project management skills and ability to prioritise a complex and demanding workload

● Ability to build a wide range of effective stakeholder relationships, including with practitioners, policymakers, service leaders and research communities

● Ability to deliver a work programme through a matrix management approach, requiring skilful negotiation with team members and stakeholders not under your line management to ensure that work is delivered

● Understanding of the use of research and evidence in an applied context

● Maintaining stakeholder engagement and motivation to complete a complex programme of work

● Confident public speaking


● Experience in successfully developing and managing the delivery of a programme of work, within agreed timescales and budget

● Experience of delivering a programme of work through a matrix management approach

● Familiarity with the children’s social care sector (it is particularly desirable if this experience is in a local authority operational context)

● Experience in representing an organisation or programme of work at public events and with senior decision-makers

● Experience of building relationships with senior stakeholders and successfully working with them in partnership to maintain momentum and deliver a programme of work

About Nesta

Nesta is a global innovation foundation. We back new ideas to tackle the big challenges of our time. Our mission is to spark and shape new ideas that improve how the world works for everyone. We use our knowledge, networks, funding and skills - working in partnership with others, including governments, businesses and charities. We are a UK charity but work all over the world, supported by a financial endowment.

How to apply

Please send your CV and a supporting statement outlining clearly how you would succeed in the role to [email protected], citing “WWC PWL Application” in the Subject of the email.

Please outline your salary expectations for the role or standard daily rate. This role can be appointed through an employment contract or contractor arrangement.

The closing date for completed applications is 5pm Monday 28th May 2018.

Interviews will take place 4th-8th June 2018.