COMPASSION and effectiveness will be at the heart of Herefordshire’s approach to children’s services as the county recalibrates following a damning High Court judgement on the service, Herefordshire councillors have said.

The council is putting in place sweeping operational changes aim to address the long-established failings and culture in the service, while a new, separate, cabinet role for children’s services, safeguarding and corporate parenting will be filled by Councillor Diana Toynbee.

Coun Toynbee said: "It is a huge privilege to join Herefordshire Council’s cabinet. I am acutely aware of the importance of my new role, my responsibilities towards Herefordshire’s children, and the extent of the challenge we are embracing.

"Our appointment of a new chief executive officer and our interim director of children’s services is good news for Herefordshire, and I’m reassured by their experience, commitment and determination. Change of leadership was long overdue, and I believe we now have the right balance of renewal and continuity. The days of defensiveness and complacency are over.

"We will use this turning point to create children’s services that are deeply compassionate and effective, where families are our partners, staff are listened to, and all public concerns are acted upon.

"I have a lot to learn from all members of the directorate, particularly workers at the sharp end, and from the broader community, and I look forward to building relationships and moving forwards together.’

Coun Felicity Norman will be cabinet member for young people’s education and attainment and responsible for post-16 education, training, and skills development.


Coun Norman said: "We welcome the comprehensive plans for review and improvement of children's services. I look forward to working with Diana to improve all aspects of our work with Herefordshire’s children through listening to their views, building confidence in our workforce, and developing an excellent service. I am sure that she will bring a new perspective and energy to this important work.

"My focus on education and attainment is timely as we become aware of the significant learning and social experience lost through months away from school, as well as the emotional impact this has had on many children and on their families. As well as supporting schools in their work with children, we will also be working with young people as they move towards independence, training, apprenticeships and the world of work."