Nottingham council boss to lead new Northamptonshire children's trust

Former head teacher and experienced council chief executive Ian Curryer has the job of turning round one of the country's worst performing children's services.

By Sarah Ward
Thursday, 30th January 2020, 1:35 pm
Updated Thursday, 30th January 2020, 4:23 pm
Ian Curryer will leave the chief executive job at Nottingham City Council to take charge of the new children's trust.
Ian Curryer will leave the chief executive job at Nottingham City Council to take charge of the new children's trust.

The chief executive of Nottingham City Council has been appointed as chair of the soon-to-be created Northamptonshire Children’s Trust.

Former primary headteacher Ian Curry has been appointed to the job by the Secretary of State for Education Gavin WiIlliamson.

The new independent trust – which will take over the failing Northamptonshire Children’s Services – will be set up in April on Government orders.

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Council leader Matt Golby, who has fended off various calls for his resignation over the past 12 months, in connection to the failings of Northamptonshire Chidlren's Services has welcomed Ian Curryer's appointment.

Mr Curryer has been in charge at Nottingham city council for the past seven years and was formerly the director of children’s services from 2008 and led the service to a ‘good’ Ofsted rating. He joined the council in 1999 as a primary schools adviser.

Northamptonshire Children’s Commissioner for Northamptonshire Andrew Christie, said Ian Curryer had the necessary skills to carry out the role.

He said: “Ian has a wealth of experience in local authorities and working with children – initially training as a teacher and moving into a head teacher role, to being a Director of Children’s Services in Nottingham City Council and most recently carrying out the important role of Chief Executive, also for Nottingham City Council. All of this experience provides Ian with the significant knowledge and skills needed to carry out this important role.

“Ian will drive forward progress of the establishment of Trust; his first important role being to support the appointment of the Chief Executive of the Trust.”

Mr Curryer said: “I am very much looking forward to taking up the new role at Children First Northamptonshire. I am excited to be going back to my roots of supporting children and young people.

“I have been fortunate to have had a regional role in children’s services improvement, so I feel I have never been too far away from this area of work. The regional role has given me an insight into Northamptonshire and I relish the opportunity to have a positive impact on work which has already begun.

“I will be drawing on my experience of working in a Council, in children’s services and the improvement field and I see the establishment of the Trust as a fantastic opportunity to build both a new organisation and a new organisational culture.”

Leader of Northamptonshire County Council Councillor Matt Golby said: “We welcome Ian to the new children’s trust. He will be joining us at a time of exciting change as we continue to work to transform and improve children’s services in Northamptonshire.

“Ian’s experience will be invaluable in developing the trust to support our aspiration to deliver outstanding social care services for all children and young people in Northamptonshire with the aim of measurably improving the lives of children and their families in the county.”

The news of his departure was announced to staff at Nottingham city council this morning. He will join the new children’s trust when it is launched in April.

The experienced educationalist will take on a very big job to transform Northamptonshire’s children’s services. The current service, which is rated as inadequate by Ofsted, cannot attract social workers, is one of the most expensive and worst performing in the country and is currently overspending by £7m on its budget.

Yesterday (Jan 29) a serious case review revealed Northamptonshire children’s services had failed to protect a young boy who was kept locked in a room and suffered extreme neglect and abuse at the hands of his mother and stepfather.

This was the third serious case review concerning Northamptonshire’s children’s services in 12 months, with details of how two murdered children Dylan Tiffin- Brown and Evelyn Rose Muggleton were failed by children’s services.The department is now overseen by a second children’s commissioner Andrew Christie after the first commissioner Malcolm Newsam stood down due to ‘inherent tensions’ between his role and that of the two government appointed commissioners overseeing the entire council.

A week later the highly paid director of children’s services Sally Hodges and her experienced deputy Jean Imray – who had been brought in to turn around the department – also left.

There have been some concerns raised in recent months from councillors across the political spectrum about the new children’s trust. Some fear that it will make transparency more difficult and take away governance from the local authority.

The new trust will deliver services into both the new unitary authorities which are due to be up and running in April next year.