Shropshire Star

New children's chief announced at council just days after previous leader's sudden departure

A new chief for a struggling children and young people's services department has been announced days after the previous leader left 'with immediate effect'.

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Tina Russell is set to join Herefordshire Council from her position in Worcestershire where she took children's services from an Ofsted rating of Inadequate to Good.

Council leaders in Herefordshire will be hoping that Tina Russell will be able to complete a similar task in her new role, where she takes up the reins on July 1 this year.

Ms Russell's predecessor Darryl Freeman left Herefordshire Council last week after two-and-a-half years as corporate director for children and young people services.

The news came on the same day as Ofsted’s fourth monitoring visit letter was published.

The monitoring visit was the fourth in the last 10 months and is as part of a series of visits put in place following the service being judged inadequate in July 2022.

Inspectors said some improvements have been made across the service but that the pace of change needs to improve and that the quality of service remains inconsistent.

Ms Russell will join the council on July 1 this year on a fixed term contract until the end of March 2025, and will be responsible for driving forward the Children’s Services Improvement Programme at an increased pace.

Paul Walker, Herefordshire Council’s Chief Executive, said: “Tina is an experienced Director of Children’s Services and is currently the Chief Executive of Worcestershire Children First.

"She has extensive experience in both front line and leadership roles across a broad range of children’s services.

"Her experience in delivering quality children’s services within a safeguarding partnership has been instrumental in taking Worcestershire from an Ofsted rating of Inadequate to Good.

“I’m confident that Tina’s wealth of experience as a Director of Children’s Services and strong track record of leading improvement will enable us to achieve our ambition of delivering the best possible social care services to our children and families in Herefordshire.”

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