HEREFORDSHIRE Council has made a new appointment as it tries to turn around its failed children's services.

Tina Russell has been named as corporate director of children and young people, with her joining the council from July 1 on a fixed-term contract until the end of March 2025.

Mrs Russell is the chief executive of a Worcestershire Children First, a role which has had its own challenges.


Last year, a letter penned by SEND National Crisis Worcestershire called for her resignation 'due to failing SEND children and young people and their families across the county'.

Against the backlash, Mrs Russell said work was continuing on an Accelerated Action Plan and progress against KPIs had been met. She added that staff had worked tirelessly and there had been a 30 per cent reduction in parents taking cases to tribunal.

An Ofsted report released in July also rated the service as 'good' an improvement from its previous 'inadequate' grade'.

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However, Worcestershire County Council will take back control of early help, children’s social care and education services when its current contract with Worcestershire Children First ends in September.

Mrs Russell's appointment in Herefordshire comes on the back of Darryl Freeman resigning as director for children and young people services.

It coincided with the latest report of a monitoring inspection last month by Ofsted, which focussed on older children and those who have left the service.

Inspectors concluded that “plans to improve services have not led to sufficient positive impact” for these groups.

Paul Walker, chief executive at Herefordshire Council, said that Mrs Russell '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."