New interim chief executive appointed for Children’s Trust in Northamptonshire

A new interim chief executive for the upcoming Children’s Trust in Northamptonshire has been appointed by the county council.

The county council has appointed a new interim chief executive for the upcoming Children's Trust.
The county council has appointed a new interim chief executive for the upcoming Children's Trust.

Clive Heaphy will be joining the Trust following a recent stint at Birmingham City Council, where he had been interim chief executive and chief finance officer for the past two years.

It was reported that Mr Heaphy quit his role as chief finance officer at Birmingham in May after failing to land the chief executive role permanently.

Now a new start awaits for Mr Heaphy, who has also worked at councils in Brent and Haringey, was director of financial operations at HS2, and had an eight year spell as a non-executive director of the Institute of Cancer Research.

He said: “I am thrilled to be joining Northamptonshire Children’s Trust and am eager to work with everyone at the county council to make a difference for children and young people in the area.

“We are living in difficult times at the moment but the launch of the Trust is a key priority – one that will allow us to provide the highest quality of services in our community.”

Plans to develop the Children’s Trust for Northamptonshire were announced by the Government in May 2019. It followed a series of critical Oftsed reports, which culminated in the county council’s children’s services being labelled inadequate.

The services are currently overseen by a government appointed commissioner and deputy commissioner. The deputy commissioner, Clare Chamberlain, was recently one of a number of new additions to the board of directors for the Trust.

In February, the commissioner, Andrew Christie, said the transition to a Children’s Trust would be ‘messy and complicated’. The job to try and make that transition as smooth as possible now rests with Mr Heaphy.

Councillor Fiona Baker, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “The launch of the Trust remains a key component of our improvement programme and Clive possesses the wealth of experience needed to help drive forward progress of the establishment of the Trust.

“In turn, this will be essential in helping us move towards a position where we can serve the two new unitary authorities in March 2021. We are very much looking forward to welcoming Clive to the team.”

Ian Curryer, the chair of the Children’s Trust Board, added: “I am looking forward to working with Clive when he takes up his post later this month. Clive will bring experience and skills that will be essential over the comings months as we work towards the Trust going live.

“Clive will build upon the hard work of the dedicated team that are already in place and have been leading the improvements we have started to see in Children’s Services in Northamptonshire.”

Mr Heaphy takes over the role following the departure of the previous interim chief executive James Thomas. Mr Thomas left this week for a new post at Tower Hamlets Council, having only been appointed in March.

The county council said it hired Mr Thomas with the full knowledge he had applied for the other job and may leave, but the nature of his short stint was not made known to many councillors however.

Opposition members only found out about his upcoming departure after reading a press release from Tower Hamlets Council welcoming him to his new role.

Mr Heaphy has also joined as an ‘interim’ chief executive, and it has not yet been made clear how long he is expected to be in the role.