This vacancy has now closed

Top job! Head of Support (Secondments will be considered)

  • Full time
  • Circa £65,000
  • Charlotte House, Edinburgh
  • Closing 19th December 2022

  • Advertised from 2nd December 2022
  • 35 hours per week


In October 2016, after meeting with and listening to children and young people in care, Scotland’s First Minister announced, “an independent, root and branch review of the care system” to look at “the underpinning legislation, practices, culture and ethos”. The aim was to identify and deliver lasting change in Scotland’s ‘care system’, leaving a legacy that will transform the wellbeing of infants, children and young people. The Independent Care Review began work in February 2017 and concluded on 5 February 2020 with the publication of seven reports.

On the same day, in the Scottish Parliament, the First Minister pledged to #KeepThePromise, a commitment that got the support of all political parties. Over 5,500 children and adults engaged with the Review and organisations, institutions, bodies, communities and groups all across Scotland also pledged to #KeepThePromise.

Between February 2020 and March 2021, due to COVID-19 restrictions, a small team from the Independent Care Review was incubated within Scottish Government to set up and start work to #KeepThePromise. Its achievements included:

  • Detailed and robust engagement with a wide range of organisations on the actions, identified in the Review as necessary for change and to deliver transformation of Scotland’s ‘care system’. This has also included detailed analysis of the responses from over 100 organisations on the work they are taking forward to #KeepThePromise.
  • Appointed an Oversight Board, with at least 50% representation of people with lived experience of Scotland’s system of care.
  • Produced Plan 21-24, published in March 2021.

On 24 March 2021, The Promise Scotland was established as a legal entity and operates independently of Scottish Government. Its function is, ‘to support and monitor the implementation of the conclusions of the Independent Care Review until 2030, at the latest.’

Following significant engagement with every children’s services partnership and key national agencies, The Promise Scotland published Change Programme ONE on June 25 2021. This includes 25 actions required to be delivered by 2024 for Plan 21- 24 to be fully implemented and the goal of the promise being kept by 2030, and The Promise Scotland becoming obsolete. It also includes the support offers, which The Promise Scotland will lead to achieve the changes required. The Promise Scotland provides the secretariat for The Promise Oversight Board and on Thursday 26 May 2022, it published its first report.

Job Purpose – Head of Support

Scotland must maintain the focus required to #KeepThePromise which requires all organisations with responsibility for children and families to develop and implement proactive and dynamic approaches to engaging with infants, children, young people and their families for meaningful change to be achieved and sustained.

The Promise Scotland will support organisations by facilitating innovative work that involves children and families in service redesign and improvement and identifying appropriate and diverse means of communication and engagement in the pursuit of achieving change.

The Promise Scotland wishes to harness and support the people who are committed to #KeepThePromise and who want to lead the changes set out in Plan 21-24. They will include members of the paid and unpaid workforce, volunteers and citizens concerned to do what is right for children and young people. The Head of Support leads a team of 11 people in The Promise Scotland, supporting networks of Communities of Interest and ‘Promise Keepers’ across Scotland to pursue local and national activity to #KeepThePromise.

The postholder is a member of the Senior Leadership Team, working to the Chief Executive and alongside the Head of Insight, the Head of Governance and Operations and the Head of Public Affairs. The Senior Leadership Team has overall responsibility for ensuring The Promise Scotland is meeting its obligations in support of Scotland’s mission to #KeepThePromise by 2030 and is accountable to a Board of Directors.

Role Specification

Thoughtful, determined and committed, you will have a deep understanding of the principles which underpinned the Independent Care Review and how the legacy of learning and acting on the experiences described of life in care or on the edges of care, must be honoured throughout The Promise Scotland’s ambition to support the changes that must happen to #KeepThePromise by 2030, at the very latest.

You will be an experienced change leader who understands the challenges of complex cultural change and be able to work alongside a diverse range of individuals and organisations to make change happen, with children, young people and families at the heart of everything you do. You will be an experienced team leader and programme manager. You will be comfortable with both leading and supporting others, internally and externally.

Main Activities

  • To participate fully as a member of the Senior Leadership Team to retain organisational focus on fulfilling the role and responsibility of The Promise Scotland, establishing enabling working practices and culture.
  • To lead an experienced team of Promise Delivery Partners, enabling them to develop trusting relationships with and provide tailored support to organisations with statutory responsibilities to ensure they:
  • Plan and implement changes to their strategy, practice and culture to #KeepThePromise, aligning activity towards Plan 21-24 and the accompanying Change Programmes;
  • Retain a focus on what matters to children and families.
  • To work with the Promise Delivery Partners to identify universal responses to the needs of organisations with statutory responsibilities, including:
  • signposting wherever possible and sharing examples of innovative and effective practice;
  • identifying gaps in provision and coming up with ways of filling those gaps
  • building new ways of working, through the development of support offers, including:
  • Communities of Interest and Practice;
  • Sharing learning and expertise.
  • To support the roll-out the Promise Design School programme, in keeping with its founding principles and in support of tangible, measurable change, and in doing so:
  • working in partnership, actively engaging children and families in service design and;
  • evaluating impact.
  • As part of the Senior Leadership Team, to ensure The Promise Scotland’s Feedback Loop captures all engagements, and, more importantly, learning.
  • To work closely with the Head of Insights, to ensure internal sharing of evidence and data about what is working, where and why; what is not working, where and why; and what else is needed, where and why.
  • To work closely with the Head of Public Affairs, to identify legislative and policy barriers to change, in preparation for introduction of The Promise Bill.
  • To contribute to the overall management and leadership of The Promise Scotland team, modelling and supporting organisational values of listening, reflection, compassion in support of continuous improvement and developing an understanding of the challenges involved in achieving change.
  • To lead and manage the Support Team, supporting their performance and development.

Essential Criteria

  • Skilled at building strong, collaborative, relationships and influencing outcomes.
  • Experience of leading service delivery and change at a senior level, either in the children’s sector and/or wider public services, ideally with a focus on the care experienced community
  • Working collaboratively in a leadership team to plan, direct, support, challenge and lead performance and improvement.
  • Highly developed project management and reporting skills.
  • Exceptional written, verbal and digital communication skills.
  • Ability to absorb a wide range of complex information and develop solutions on both strategic and operational issues and have an ability to think analytically in the evaluation of competing needs.
  • As a member of the Senior Leadership Team, to take shared and collective responsibility for leading The Promise Scotland team, supporting and fostering a positive approach to learning, development and improvement.
  • Able to work proactively and with agility, to manage own workload and work flexibly to meet work demands and tight deadlines.
  • An understanding of the political landscape in Scotland with particular insight into the challenges of public service reform and of engaging meaningfully with those who need and use these services.
  • Lived experience of the care system and/or a deep, demonstrable understanding of the principles established by the Independent Care Review.

Working Conditions

The Promise Scotland’s office is at Charlotte House, 2 South Charlotte Street, Edinburgh. As an organisation we are committed to supporting our colleagues to work flexibly.


The Promise Scotland has a pension scheme that employees will be contractually enrolled into, making a minimum contribution of 5.5% of their qualifying earnings, with The Promise Scotland contributing 13%. Employees may opt out at any time.

Application notes

To apply for this role, please download the attached application form from our website

Application Deadline: 5pm Monday 19th December 2022

Interview Date: week commencing 9th January 2023