North Northamptonshire Council has appointed a new director for children's services (DCS) in a bid to improve outcomes for children and young people.
AnnMarie Dodds had been filling the role in an interim capacity since the previous director, Cathi Hadley, left the authority in January this year.
Prior to this, Ms Dodds had been the assistant director of children's services at the council and had worked in Haringey, Sussex and Reading for their local education authorities.
She said: “I’m delighted and immensely proud to have been chosen as the permanent DCS in North Northamptonshire. I have been inspired by the energy and the drive from the workforce and the partners to deliver excellent services for children across North Northamptonshire.
"I look forward to continuing the good work which is under way to improve the whole of children’s services. I will be part of an enthusiastic and passionate team which is dedicated to making life better for all of our children.”
As the new director she will be working with elected members to improve services for children and young people across the authority area.
The former Northamptonshire County Council's children's services were rated inadequate by Ofsted in July 2019. The authority was scrapped with two new unitary authorities taking control of separate children's departments. In 2019 two serious case reviews found the county council had failed to protect murdered children Dylan Tiffin-Brown and Evelyn-Rose Muggleton.
Rob Bridge, the council’s chief executive, said: “I welcome AnnMarie to a permanent position with the corporate leadership team and look forward to working with her on further improving life chances for all of the children and young people in North Northamptonshire. She has already made a significant impact since she started at the authority and she richly deserves her new role.”
Cllr Scott Edwards, the council’s executive member for children, families, education and skills, said: “We welcome AnnMarie into this new role. She has been acting as an interim for the past two months and has clearly demonstrated that she is right for the job.
“Children’s services in the county has been on an incredible improvement journey over the past few years and recent Ofsted monitoring inspections show that real progress is being made.”
Cllr Jason Smithers, leader of the council, said: “Keeping children safe and improving life chances for young people is one of our key priorities at the council and I welcome AnnMarie into this new role. I’m confident that she is the right choice to build on the progress that’s already been made.”