Assistant director in children’s services department to leave Norfolk County Council

County Hall, Norwich.
Picture by SIMON FINLAY.

County Hall, Norwich. Picture by SIMON FINLAY. - Credit: Archant Norfolk

An assistant director in Norfolk County Council's troubled children's services is leaving the authority.

Staff at County Hall were told today, in a statement from managing director Dr Wendy Thomson, that Sal Thirlway, the assistant director for early help and prevention, would be 'moving on' from the role.

Mr Thirlway, joined the authority from Milton Keynes in 2015.

His role, with a pay grade of between £79, 566 to £92,241, included managing the service which aimed to prevent families getting into difficulties which could lead to an intervention by children's services.

The council's children's services committee this week heard how, in the past four months, the number of looked after children had increased by 57 and 'affirmative action' was needed.


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In the message to staff, Dr Thomson wrote that Mr Thirlway, whose family live outside of Norfolk, would leave the council at the end of January.

She said: 'He has decided, in the interests of his family, to leave the authority and seek work nearer to home.'

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She said he had been a valued member of the council.

'He has made an important contribution to strengthening children's services which has made a notable difference to the lives of vulnerable children.'

Sarah Jones, head of early help in the Breckland area, will step up to his role while the search for a new assistant director for early help continues.

The department, twice rated inadequate by Ofsted since 2013, is currently also hunting for a permanent executive director.

An interim director Matt Dunkley, will start work next month, replacing current interim director Andrew Bunyan.

Mr Bunyan was appointed following the resignation of director Michael Rosen.

He left just days after a monitoring report by watchdogs, which said the service was still not giving children a consistently good enough service.

Ofsted said the council was not 'sufficiently ruthless or ambitious in tracking and chasing progress at individual case, operational service and strategic management levels'.

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