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Search starts for new children’s services director and fire chief for Norfolk

PUBLISHED: 22:02 29 June 2017 | UPDATED: 22:13 29 June 2017

Norfolk County Council headquarters. County Hall Martineau Lane, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

Norfolk County Council headquarters. County Hall Martineau Lane, Norwich. Photo: Steve Adams

Archant

The search has begun to find a new head of Norfolk County Council’s children’s services department, as well as a new fire chief for the county.

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The posts of director of children’s services and chief fire officer at County Hall are currently held by interims following the resignations of the previous permanent directors.

And, with the county council elections now out of the way, the authority has started the recruitment progress, with a target to be selecting candidates for the children’s services role in the summer.

The post has a salary of between £122,000 and £142,000, and the new director will face the task of improving the department.

The last two inspections of the department by Ofsted have rated the department as inadequate.

In March, watchdogs published a monitoring report which highlighted “decisive action” to improve, but they said the service most children and young people receive was “not yet good enough”. A further monitoring report is due next week.

As part of the recruitment drive, the council’s managing director Dr Wendy Thomson and Penny Carpenter, chair of the children’s services committee, appear in a YouTube video.

Dr Thomson says the council needs an “experienced, ambitious director of children’s services”, while Mrs Carpenter says she wants children’s services to be rated as good by the next county council elections.

Matt Dunkley, the interim director of children’s services, made clear on his appointment that he was not seeking the role on a permanent basis.

The council is keen to recruit a permanent head to give the department stability.

When Ofsted gave its inadequate rating in 2013, that triggered the retirement of director Lisa Christensen.

Interim Sheila Lock was then brought in before Michael Rosen became permanent head in September 2015. He resigned just days after an Oftsed monitoring report was critical of the pace of change.

Interim Andrew Bunyan took over, before Mr Dunkley replaced him in February.

The council is also looking for a chief fire officer, with a salary of £105,882 to £122,748. David Ashworth has been acting chief fire officer since the resignation, last November of former fire chief Roy Harold.

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