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Statement on future leadership of Children's Services

Children and families

23 November 2021

A collage of images showing West Northamptonshire Council buildings

Following the recent decision of our current shared Director of Children's Services (DCS), Cathi Hadley to leave Northamptonshire, we have been in discussions with North Northamptonshire Council about the future.

While we have a shared Children's Trust, both Councils retain the statutory responsibility for Children's Services and therefore it’s important that our future arrangements continue to provide the professional leadership and focus that members need.

We are also mindful that during 2022 we will have a full OFSTED 'Inspection of Local Authority Childrens Services' or ILACS that will for the first time report on Children's Services in relation to each authorities children separately. This will give us a clear West Northamptonshire baseline to build on with the Trust.

With this in mind the two Councils have both reached the conclusion that we would like to proceed towards separate DCS arrangements next year. This of course will be subject to Council approval as it is a change to our current blueprint and shared DCS Chief Officer approach. We also want to make we sure we have a continued strong focus on education and the SEND agenda as we have been making good progress on developing our plans to improve and transform our educational services.

Cllr Fiona Baker, WNC's Cabinet Member for Children, Families and Education, said “We are sad to see Cathi Hadley go and we want our childrens’ social care and education services to continue their journey with strong leadership with the right skills and capacity to be effective as we move to separate arrangements.

"We therefore want to take the opportunity in the coming weeks and months to shape the senior team that will take us forward and deliver on our ambitions for children, building on the good work of Cathi.

"Ahead of that we will be looking to implement interim DCS cover arrangements while we progress the recruitment options."