Appointment of the Group Chief Digital and Information Officer

Welcome

Thank you for your interest in joining the Dimensions group executive team.

The Group is working towards Better Lives for More People, our strategy for 2025, created to deliver better lives for the people we support, their families and our colleagues. When we use the term Group we mean everyone and this includes our subsidiaries Discovery, Outreach3Way and Dimensions Cymru. I am delighted to be taking up the role of Group CEO from March (after spending 2 years in the role of Managing Director for Dimensions UK).  I am ambitious for the people we support, colleagues and the organisation.

The quality of the services we provide to the people we support drives all of our decisions. We work with multiple regulators to ensure that our services are safe and delivering the outcomes we are looking for. We talk to the people we support and their families about the services we provide for them, and we are constantly looking to improve and innovate which we can only do through listening to them.

Much has been written about the financial constraints and connected challenges of the social care sector. To help us to achieve our mission and strategy of Better Lives for More People we have created the new and exciting position of Group Chief Digital and Information Officer to further strengthen our Executive Team. We are looking to appoint an experienced leader who can help us to leverage technology to provide better outcomes, whilst streamlining our operations. We need our systems across the Group to make life easier for our colleagues, reduce duplication and drive efficiency, as well as a clear digital transformation strategy to give us the competitive advantage we need to thrive and grow.

We are a values-driven employer, structured to deliver in a localised way that places important decisions close to the people that they affect.  Today, Dimensions supports 3,500 people and employs 7,000 colleagues across England and Wales. That makes us one of the largest not-for-profit providers of support for people with learning disabilities and autistic people in the country. Scale is not important for what it is but for what it enables us to do: it helps us invest in our learning and development; to draw on the expertise of the people we support and their families so their influence permeates throughout Dimensions; and to amplify their voices as we expand our contribution beyond our boundaries, targeting key sector issues.

We know that many sector challenges are complex and will be with us beyond our current strategy. People with a learning disability still die too young.  There are still two and a half thousand people with a learning disability and/or autism living in hospital and too many that leave find themselves just moved into a different locked facility.  The age of those being admitted is getting younger, with increasing prevalence of autism.  Most also experience mental ill-health that increases the support that they need and decreases their chance of moving on.  People are still being abused in publicly-funded care homes and hospitals.  Thirteen hundred young people leave residential schools and colleges each year to live in ‘out-of-area’ placements, away from their families and significant relationships.  Purchasers are still seeking more for less. Lack of investment in the sector means that salaries are still too low and so attracting people to come to work in our sector – and stay – remains hard, even though I know there are people out there with the right values.

In the very early days of the pandemic we set ‘Keeping the people we support alive’ as the first of only three organisational objectives (the others were ‘Keeping our workforce safe, healthy and focused on our first objective’ and ‘Emerging from the pandemic fit for the future’). We have not come through this unscathed and I would never wish to minimise the suffering of people we support, their families and our colleagues who have faced the virus directly. However, as a Group we believe our myriad of responses to the pandemic has helped us adapt and improve much of how we operate. In short, our experiences and how we are emerging will help us deliver our exciting and challenging strategic aspirations and making better use of technology is a critical part of that.

I see things that inspire me every single day.  I look at our organisation and I see the passion, engagement and values that we need to give people great lives. I see people we support voting, getting jobs, learning new skills, finding new friends and being heard.  People with a learning disability and/or autism achieving what, for most of us, are the critical cornerstones of life.  Just as satisfying are the everyday things: seeing people make their own dinner, contribute to making a cup of tea, shop online, go to the doctor. Seeing the people we support need us less! And it makes me proud.  Proud of them and proud of my colleagues who help to make it happen.

But we are not content – there is still much to do and much to improve. We need to ensure we match our ambition, a core value, with our capacity.  I know that we can, and do, get it right for people; that we have acquired the knowledge and the experience to help people live better lives.  However, we need more good people in support roles, more good leaders, leaner processes, stronger systems, some new skills and greater diversity, especially across our leadership. More Dimensions people delivering more Dimensions support to help more people need us less.

To help achieve our strategy, Dimensions is governed by a Board that brings with it a wealth of knowledge and experience. We also know that our governance arrangements must reflect the wide interests and perspectives of the people we serve – both the people we support and the colleagues who work for us. Across our leadership functions, we are seeking people who bring diversity of experience and perspectives to the table.

Rachael Dodgson
Chief Executive (designate)

About Us

Dimensions is a large and complex organisation supporting people with learning disabilities and autism, including people with complex needs. We enable thousands of people to have greater choice and control over their lives. The people we support and their families are at the heart of everything we do, and we want every one of them to have a great life with excellent outcomes. We were one of the pioneers of person-centred support packages for people with learning disabilities and autism, and our drive for innovation continues with our Dimensions Activate support model.

From a few hours each week to intensive support for people with challenging behaviour, complex needs and profound and multiple learning disabilities, we involve the people we support and their families in all levels of their support. Our intent is to make everything we do personalised to the individual, and our team are ambitious for each and every person we support. We believe passionately that people do best outside of institutions and when living near family and friends.

Our relationships with our colleagues are important to us, and we set high standards for ourselves as an employer; we recognise a union, we offer an award-winning career development scheme, and we partner with Roffey Park for our leadership development programme. We have just been awarded the Great Places to work accreditation for the 3rd year in a row in the super large employer category. We are financially and commercially sustainable, we have grown significantly over recent years, and our accounts show an underlying surplus. In line with our values we aim to be exemplar and a leader within the sector. We work hard to develop a ‘Louder Voice’, enabling the people we support and their families to raise the issues that matter to them and to add value to the sector beyond our boundaries.

Dimensions is also the parent to four subsidiaries:

Outreach 3 Way

Discovery

Dimensions Personalised Support

Dimensions Cymru

The Dimensions Group has for some time now been growing year on year. We recognise that in order to thrive in an industry where margins are low and risks are high, we need to operate at a significant scale. We will continue to look for opportunities to support more people through continuing expansion, but we will do so with caution and discretion. We will only be able to reach our goals if we continue to change and adapt, to ensure that Dimensions remains at the forefront of innovation in social care. We will provide better support to more people.

Dimensions is strongly values-driven, and we expect everyone to demonstrate our five core values:

  • Ambition, helping people be the best they can be
  • Courage, being brave enough to make a difference
  • Integrity, being honest and fair in all the things we do
  • Partnership, working with other people to make a bigger difference
  • Respect, treating everyone fairly and knowing that everyone’s voice is important

We are proud of how we engage and communicate with all our stakeholders. Openness and transparency are at the heart of what we do and informs how we talk about ourselves. You can find details of the current executive team and the Group Board here:

 

Equality, diversity and inclusion

Dimensions has come a long way on their journey to promote equality and respect diversity since the implementation of the Equality Act 2010 legislation.

Having developed a vision for how we wanted to embed respect and fairness, we developed a robust strategy that shaped our focus and intent.

Vision:

We strongly believe in promoting equality, celebrating diversity and ensuring inclusion – for the people we support, the people we employ and wider society.

We strive to be an organisation which reflects and responds to the diverse range of communities in which we work, and aim to create an inclusive culture that understands, respects, encourages and celebrates the individual differences of the people we support, employ and work in partnership with.

We believe that the diversity of our staff team is one of our strengths and so we are committed to ensuring that it reflects the diversity of society as a whole at all levels of the organisation.

At the Dimensions Group, we value you as you – not despite your diversity, but because of it.

All colleagues are encouraged to share their diversity information, and this along with survey analysis, our staff forums, equality impact assessments and diversity champions’ network helps shape our priorities and focus on meeting the diverse needs of our colleagues and the people we support.

Our Equality, Diversity & Inclusion Manager, together with our dedicated volunteer diversity champions who work in different areas across Dimensions in operations and business support, work to deliver our equality and diversity strategy. The Board, Leadership Group and Executive Team support the agenda and are committed to delivering our equality and diversity objectives, and the Chief Executive, Rachael Dodgson, is personally passionate about this. This means that all areas of Dimensions have a part to play in ensuring colleagues and the people we support are respected and valued.

Dimensions has come far, but there is still more to do. We have taken, and continue to take, steps to address the balance of ethnic diversity of our senior managers. Signing up to the Race at Work Charter and the five principles also demonstrates our commitment to equality for our colleagues who are from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds.

We have set measures to recruit and retain colleagues with a disability and specifically a learning disability. We have been transparent in our commitment to both of these, and use positive action in recruitment.

As Disability Confident Leaders, we are open to supporting the wider community in sharing our learning and experience. Achieving the Louder than Words charter has enabled us to understand the needs of our deaf colleagues and people we support as well as those with hearing loss. We have invested in assistive technology to support colleagues who have hearing loss, dyslexia, and English as an additional language.

We have championed the rights of the LGBTQ+ communities with having a presence at Pride events, and listening and learning from our colleagues in transition. We are continually striving to be as inclusive as possible and make adjustments wherever we can.

The Board, Executive Team and the Leadership Group have all undertaken unconscious bias awareness which all colleagues have access to. We are developing resources to use in day to day situations to enable colleagues to reflect on the decisions they make so they can challenge themselves and each other.

Recently the Board and Executive Team participated in an Inclusive Leadership session. This has enabled them to reflect on what we need to do differently and has spearheaded some actions in how they operate at this level. It is the intention that this will be cascaded to Leadership Group and then all managers.

We have also developed training on bullying and harassment so that colleagues know how to recognise it, deal with it, and reduce it. We give every colleague the opportunity in their 1-1s to raise any issues or barriers in their work that relates to their diversity.

The most recent Great Places to Work survey results were in the highest scoring areas relating to promoting equality and respecting diversity; evidence that demonstrates that colleagues feel able to be themselves and that they are valued not despite their diversity, but  because of it.

Please click here to view the Dimensions Group outline to our commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion of all colleagues.

The role

Group Chief Digital and Information Officer

Job reference:
AQ1293

Job Description

Job title:                 Group Chief Digital and Information Officer

Reports to:            Group Chief Executive

Responsible for:

    • I.T. Service Delivery
    • I.T. Service Desk
    • Product Development
    • Data Management
    • Digital Transformation

Overall Purpose:

Dimensions is a leading provider of services supporting people with learning disabilities, autism, and complex needs. Our CDIO is a member of the Group Executive Team and has overall responsibility for technology provision, ensuring it is fit for purpose and is focused on driving the best specialist support.

Key Outcomes:

  • Set the Digital Strategy in line with our objectives and define the roadmap for technology, promoting the vision and overseeing delivery
  • Deliver digital transformation including systems roll out, evaluations and process change and adoption, to offer competitive advantage to the organisation
  • Create and deliver a Group wide approach, reducing duplication and driving efficiencies
  • Make recommendations on the sourcing arrangements of the existing and future IT provision, including auditing existing services and systems and recommending outsourcing arrangements or commercial partnerships that make business sense
  • Be the Group Executive Team member accountable for a forward-thinking strategy, horizon scanning for all digital solutions; ensuring we stay ahead of the curve and have the right systems to enable both regulatory compliance and to fulfill business objectives
  • Monitor and understand the potential benefits of assistive technology
  • Provide an executive level interface between the technology department and the rest of the Group
  • Provide leadership and management of day-to-day IT, including the IT help desk, resolution of our connectivity challenges, data development and cyber security
  • Provide robust, forward-thinking advice to the Group Executive Team and Board across all areas of responsibility
  • Develop a culture of continuous improvement across all areas of responsibility
  • Harness and develop the power of data in all areas of the Group as well as to ensure data remains secure across the organization.
  • To play a key role in improving the digital literacy of a large, dispersed workforce.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Responsible for ensuring that the Dimensions Group has the technology, data and digital capabilities to drive performance improvements.
  • To ensure that the Dimensions Group complies with all relevant data security requirements, helping us to reassure the people we support and their families, our staff, commissioners, regulators, and health and care partners, that we are following good practice – and meeting legal and regulatory requirements.
  • To ensure that our data strategy is effective, coherent and targeted. Making data accessible and insightful at all times, using it to improve outcomes
  • To be part of the Dimensions Group Executive Team developing strategy, delivering performance and evaluating effectiveness in accordance with Dimensions’ strategic intent and
  • Develop and deliver a digital transformation for the organisation and the people we support which builds networks that connect devices, objects and people.
  • Ensure that our technology meets the needs and requirements of a changing and disparate workforce and ways of working in a post-covid landscape. Develop polices which will help standardise practice across the Group.
  • To drive continuous improvements in day-to-day I.T. operations across the Group, improving efficiency and reducing frustration.
  • To lead and develop high performing technology teams, driving a culture of continuous improvements in line with the values and behaviours of the Dimensions Group.
  • To ensure that complex technological concepts are accessible to all stakeholders across Dimensions regardless of their technical capabilities.
  • Educate and influence the organisation about the benefits and risks of technology and future trends and opportunities. Build and develop external networks in order to scan the horizon for future digital developments and gain a good understanding of how emerging technologies could help us to change the lives of the people we support.
  • Oversee and manage relationships with vendors, contractors and service providers. Make recommendations to the Executive Team and Board on supplier changes. Scoping requirements and overseeing tender processes, focusing on value for money.
  • Be accountable for the Group technology budget, setting a strategy which will drive improvements in efficiency and will help to reduce operating costs.
  • Model effective leadership behaviours to encourage people at all levels to perform to the best of their abilities and to promote, live and cherish the Dimensions Lead a team of functional Heads ensuring that the Directorate work together cohesively and the potential of all colleagues within the team can be maximized. Ensure that standards of performance are maintained at all times across the team.

This Job Description is a general outline of the post and is not exhaustive or restrictive. The post holder may be required to undertake other duties appropriate to their level and any reasonable request made by the Group Chief Executive. The Job Description is subject to periodic review.

Person Specification

Qualifications / Education Essential / Desirable Method of Assessment: Application (A) / Interview (I)
Educated to degree level or equivalent D A
Demonstrable continuous professional development E A / I

 

Experience Essential / Desirable Method of Assessment: Application (A) / Interview (I)
Significant experience in a senior leadership position, including planning, budgeting, evaluating and change management E A / I
Significant experience in a senior leadership position within the commercial, public or third sectors E A / I
Relevant sector experience, for example within social care, health, social housing or other public services setting D A/I
Significant knowledge and experience of implementing cloud based systems and ERPs D A/I
Experience of developing and improving operational capabilities of a large, complicated organisation E A / I
Experience of leading and managing a team carrying out a diverse range of activities E A / I
Experience of leading digital transformation in a large complicated organisation E A/I
Experience of managing direct reports in a dispersed organisation E A / I
Experience of working and managing within a matrix management structure D A / I
Experience of engaging with a range of external suppliers E A / I
Experience of working within a complex governance structure D
Experience of building cross functional collaboration D A / I

 

Skills Essential / Desirable Method of Assessment: Application (A) / Interview (I)
Excellent verbal and written communication skills, including active listening E A / I
Ability to speak publicly and present complex messages in a variety of ways to different audiences E A
Setting a budget and monitoring value for money achieved E A / I
Ability to negotiate and establish win/win outcomes with internal stakeholders and external customers E A / I
Ability to contribute to and excel within a collaborative environment E A / I
Excellent leadership skills E A / I
Ability to manage complex projects and balance multiple and conflicting priorities across multiple disciplines E A / I
Strong motivational leadership skills with a facilitative leadership style which brings out the best of people E A / I
Strategic thinking, creative problem solving E I
Ability to direct and deliver key projects and business strategies within agreed budgets and deadlines E A / I

 

Personal Attributes Essential / Desirable Method of Assessment: Application (A) / Interview (I)
Strong commitment that people with a learning disability and autism should be active citizens within their communities E I
Inspirational leader with a ‘can-do-attitude’ and a proven ability to motivate E I
Commitment to equality, diversity and inclusion in all aspects of the role E A/I
Willingness to lead by example, with sleeves rolled up and to ‘walk the talk’ E I
Ability to work with multiple deadlines and competing priorities E I
Track record of success in a rapidly developing organisation E A / I
Commitment to Dimensions’ values and ethos E I
Commitment to team building and supporting the development of team members E A / I
Ability to travel within the UK with occasional nights away E I
A collaborative team player who can inspire confidence and trust from colleagues and Board members E I
Able to work largely self-directed, effectively manage one’s workload and meet deadlines E I

Terms of Appointment

  • A competitive salary will be agreed with the successful candidates, dependant on experience.
  • 30 days’ annual leave entitlement plus bank holidays
  • Additional £3,000 annual budget which can be spent flexibly on either: Buying additional leave; Additional pension contributions; Private medical care; An improved company car
  • Home based
  • Generous pension scheme
  • Company car
  • Long service awards
  • Life assurance

How to Apply

Anderson Quigley is acting as an advisor to Dimensions. An executive search process is being carried out by Anderson Quigley in addition to the public advertisement.

The closing date for applications is noon on Monday 17 January 2022.

Applications should consist of:

  • A full CV including the names and addresses of two referees. Referees will not be approached until the final stages and not without prior permission from candidates
  • Please complete a covering letter of no more than 2 sides of A4 which answers the following questions:
    • What motivates you to join Dimensions and why will you be successful?
    • What will you bring of yourself, your life experience and your perspective to the organisation?
    • As a leader, how will you apply the Dimensions values (Ambition, Courage, Integrity, Partnership, Respect)?
  • Please complete the following online Equal Opportunity Monitoring Form.

Completed applications should be uploaded at www.andersonquigley.com/candidates using the AQ reference number AQ1293.

Should you wish to discuss the role in strict confidence, please contact our advising consultants at Anderson Quigley: Rob Hilyer on +44(0)7719 325 771 or Elyse Turner-Pearce on +44 (0)7808 648 559.

Timetable

Closing date: noon on Monday 17 January
Longlisting: Monday 24 January
Preliminary interviews with AQ: w/c Monday 24 January
Shortlisting: Tuesday 1 February
Final Panel Interviews: Wednesday 9 February