New chief executive of Northamptonshire Children's Trust announced

James Thomas started on the job today.

Monday, 2nd March 2020, 3:01 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd March 2020, 3:03 pm
James Thomas began the role today.
James Thomas began the role today.

A new interim director of Northamptonshire’s soon to be created children’s trust has been appointed.

James Howard has been appointed to lead the transfer of Northamptonshire County Council’s failing children’s services into a new independent trust.

He starts the role today and the trust, which will be operate at arms length from the council, is expected to be up and running this July.

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In an email to staff, the county council’s chief executive Theresa Grant said: “James is an experienced Director of Children’s Services who brings a track record of delivering social care improvement as well as significant experience of working within alternative delivery models.

“In recent years he has been the leader for Children’s Services and a core member of the corporate leadership teams in both permanent and interim roles for Richmond, Tameside, Newham and Westminster.

“James has led Children’s Social Care out of intervention, as well as achieving Outstanding Ofsted judgements.

“He has significant experience in delivering a single service for more than one local authority, most recently through Achieving for Children and previously for the Tri-borough London partnership.

“James is also the National lead for ADCS on Safeguarding Reform and sits on the national Safeguarding Reform Delivery Board. He is a qualified Social Worker and has maintained his Social Work registration.”

James said: “I am really excited to be joining the team for Children First Northamptonshire at a time when there is already a clear momentum of improvement for the children and families of the county, and I can’t wait to hit the ground running next week and meet with frontline staff, and the leadership teams for Children First and the council.”

He has a tall order on his hands. Despite being one of the most expensive services in the country, the service is one of the worst performing in the country. This year, two serious case reviews were published into the deaths of two young children who were failed by Northamptonshire social services.

The service is currently being overseen by a government-appointed children’s commissioner who has said the creation of the trust will be ‘messy and complicated’ due to the closure of the county council and the creation of two new unitary councils. The board will be chaired by Ian Curryer.