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Continuing professional development for children's services managers - what works?

Paper | May 2012

This short paper by IPC looks at emerging evidence and good practice in continuing professional development for managers of children`s services, examining how managers can be best supported in developing their skills and knowledge.

The paper focuses particularly on `middle managers` - those whose role in children`s services is to manage professionals` practice, and to translate strategic direction into operational practice - the skills they require, and the type of support needed to develop them. These people, variously known as `service managers`, `team managers`, `centre managers`, `practice managers` and `operational managers` have skills that are crucial to the safe, effective and cost-effective delivery of high quality health, education and social care. Through a review of the literature, the paper defines their key activities and, in particular, challenges the formerly prevalent image of the middle manager as obstructive to change.

The paper then looks in more detail at the different development packages available for managers, identifying elements found to be consistently successful, as well as flagging up those found not to work, and moving from the most broadly applicable to those that work best in public sector settings and those most effective for children`s managers.

It concludes with practical implications for design and delivery of development programmes, such as the importance of varied activities with direct relevance to workplace situations rather than generic management needs, the application of flexible learning styles, availability of constructive feedback, programmes that allow working across organisational boundaries and the possibility of working jointly with external specialists, such as a university.

For further information please contact Fiona Richardson at IPC


Tel: 01225 484088