Deputy Commissioner to join board of Northamptonshire Children’s Trust - as three other directors are also appointed

Four new people have been appointed to the board of the upcoming Children’s Trust for Northamptonshire – including the county council’s current Deputy Commissioner.

By James Averill
Thursday, 21st May 2020, 9:04 am
Updated Thursday, 21st May 2020, 9:06 am
Clare Chamberlain will relinquish her Deputy Commissioner role once the Children's Trust and its board are established.
Clare Chamberlain will relinquish her Deputy Commissioner role once the Children's Trust and its board are established.

Plans to develop the Children’s Trust were announced by the Government in May 2019, and would serve the two new unitary authority councils that are set to be created in place of the existing councils next April.

Children’s services at the county council are currently being overseen by a Government appointed children’s commissioner Andrew Christie following a number of recent failings.

Mr Christie is helped in his position by a Deputy Children’s Commissioner, Clare Chamberlain. And Ms Chamberlain is one of the four new non-executive directors to be appointed to the trust’s board by the Secretary of State for Education, Gavin Williamson.

Before joining the county council, Ms Chamberlain had worked directly with 18 local authorities and had also undertaken the roles of Executive Director of Children’s Services and Director of Family Services for London Boroughs.

She has also worked with charitable bodies such as the Refugee Council and the National Children’s Bureau, and was awarded a CBE in 2017.

Clare will relinquish her Commissioner role once the Trust and its board are established.

Joining Clare on the board is Hilary Daniels, a qualified accountant who has previously worked in local government, NHS Trusts and care groups, holding senior Chief Executive and Director of Finance roles. The county council says she ‘has a background of managing budgets, budget reviews and funding for significant developments in health’.

Also joining the board is Colin Cross, a qualified chartered accountant with more than 30 years of experience working for major international companies such as IBM and Capgemini. He has held roles in executive leadership, operational delivery, account management, service improvement, finance and strategy planning.

The fourth and final new member of the board is John O’Brien, who in his career has served as a senior civil servant, a KPMG consultant, a non-executive director and, most recently, as Chief Executive of London Councils. He has also served as a trustee of the New Local Government Network and the Leadership Centre for Local Government.

The four new members will join Ian Curryer, who started his role as chairman on the board this month. Mr Curryer, a former primary school headteacher, left his position in charge of Nottingham City Council to join the Trust’s board.Speaking about the new recruits, he said: “We’ve appointed our new board members based on their wealth of experience, which is both impressive and varied, covering the public services sector, children’s services, business and finance.”

The Children’s Trust will still need a permanent chief executive however. James Thomas, who joined as interim CEO in early March, announced just a month after joining that he would be moving to Tower Hamlets Council at the beginning of July.

It had originally been scheduled for the Trust to be launched in April, but this was put back to July and has now been delayed further due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Children’s Commissioner Andrew Christie recently told the Local Democracy Reporting Service that although the Trust had been halted for now it would be up and running before next spring.