New Joint Director of Children’s Services appointed

A new joint Director of Children’s Service has been appointed to lead Plymouth and Torbay’s Children Services as part of the formal contractual arrangement between the two councils.

Plymouth will soon begin a formal contractual arrangement with Torbay Council to manage its Children’s Services.

Alison Botham has been selected to head up the two services. She brings to the post over 30 years’ experience in delivery, management and leadership of public services.

Alison joined Plymouth City Council as Assistant Director for Social Care in 2013 before becoming Assistant for Children, Young People and Families in December 2014.

She is currently responsible for a wide range of services which look after the city’s children and young people, including adoption, targeted support, children and young people in care, children’s social work services, community youth series as well as safeguarding.

Councillor Terri Beer, Cabinet Member for Children and Young People at Plymouth City Council said: “Alison has a huge amount of experience leading improvements within a service and we are confident her enthusiasm and commitment, as well as leadership and drive, will deliver positive change.”

Councillor Julien Parrott, Executive Lead for Adults & Children from Torbay added: “I am pleased with Alison’s appointment. We have committed to working together to bring about positive change to our service for our children, young people and their families. It is important for us to have someone with a track record of improvement within a service, to help us lead the change we need to make. This partnership will build on the undoubted progress that has been made since our last inspection through the continued work with our Improvement Partner Hampshire and Interim Director.”

Both councils will work together to ensure a smooth handover from the interim Director of Children’s Services in Torbay, who will lead the service through re-inspection that is anticipated shortly.

Staffing structures across Children’s Services in both councils will remain largely unaffected. Staff employed in Plymouth will continue to work with Plymouth’s children, young people and families and those employed by Torbay will work with Torbay’s children, young people and families.

Work is ongoing to make sure both councils are ready for the start of the new arrangement. A programme board has been set up involving officers from both councils to oversee progress in a number of key areas.

John Coughlan, the Commissioner from Hampshire County Council, who has been working with Torbay, will continue to advise both councils during the transition phase.