Fife Council: Bringing Deeper Understanding to Fill Pivotal Role

Fife Council: Bringing Deeper Understanding to Fill Pivotal Role

PeopleScout helped Fife Council source a new Head of Children, Families and Criminal Justice.

Fife Council brought the role of of the Head of Children, Families and Criminal Justice to PeopleScout a few months before the current incumbent was due to retire. The role is pivotal in shaping the future of children and families services in Fife, Scotland—an area where one in four children are living in poverty.

We were tasked with identifying individuals with a strong background in leading services within children and families social care and already on the social work register in England or Scotland, or able to register. The role covered a wide remit, including criminal justice, and had also been merged with the Chief Social Work Officer role.

Understanding and communicating the role’s interesting remit, combined with the social work and criminal justice elements, proved essential to successfully filling the role. The role could not be filled internally, and it was a challenging location to recruit for, making passive candidate engagement a much more viable option than advertising.



Following preliminary research, a briefing with the Executive Director of Education and Children’s Services provided further context and insight into children and family services in Fife. A version of the Directorate Improvement Plan was also shared with us to bring the role and its challenges to life. It was agreed that the ideal candidate would be working in a similar role in a smaller Scottish local authority.


Our search channels encompassed telephone, LinkedIn, referrals, CV databases and deep web searching. By using an intensive search for council documentation, and leveraging historical freedom of information requests, we were able to identify names of individuals who were otherwise absent from traditional sources—including other local authority websites.

We reached out to a list of candidates that matched the ideal candidate profile to showcase the role. Even with sourcing, 35% of individuals who engaged with us were not interested because of the location.


From the candidates we identified, Fife Council appointed a new Head of Children, Families and Criminal Justice from a smaller Scottish local authority as per their ideal candidate profile. In the candidate’s own words, she was delighted to be offered the role and excited to be joining Fife Council. She also thanked PeopleScout for contacting her as she was not looking for a new role and would have never heard of this opportunity otherwise.

At a Glance

  • COMPANY: Fife Council
  • ABOUT FIFE COUNCIL: Fife Council is the local authority for the Fife area of Scotland and is the third largest Scottish council.

I was impressed with PeopleScout’s extent knowledge of what Fife Council was looking for and your ability from our conversations to absolutely understand what type of person we wished to recruit. The process found us candidates who would not have otherwise applied, and although there was still a small number of applicants, we were able to appoint a suitable candidate to the post. This was my first time in using this service and would consider it for future senior appointments.

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