Norfolk: Children's Services Gets New Boss

8 July 2013, 11:54 | Updated: 8 July 2013, 11:55

The new person in charge of Children's Services in Norfolk has been announced.

Sheila Lock will be the county’s new Interim Director of Children’s Services, taking over from Lisa Christensen who retires on July 18.

Ms Lock has more than 30 years of experience in public service. She is the current Interim Director of Children’s Services at Cardiff Council and was formerly Chief Executive and Corporate Director of Children’s Services at Leicester City Council.

Ms Christensen stepped down following pressure from MPs for her to quit, after an Ofsted report said services here were 'patchy and inconsistent'.

She will leave with a £140,00 pay-off - if you include the pension top-up.

Ms Lock’s principal focus will be helping ensure the service delivers significant improvements in the wake of Ofsted’s recent criticism of the council’s safeguarding services and its arrangements for supporting schools. During her time at Leicester Ms Lock led the authority out of a notice to improve and steered it from the bottom quartile of the education performance tables.

James Joyce, Cabinet Member for Safeguarding, said: “Sheila’s leadership expertise and breadth of knowledge on young people’s issues will be just what is needed to harness the enthusiasm of dedication of children’s services staff to deliver the improvements we are looking for."

Mick Castle, Norfolk County Council’s Cabinet Member for Schools, added: “Turning around performance in Children’s Services is our highest priority and we are confident that Sheila has the experience and determination to do just that.

“She oversaw improvements in levels of achievement in all key stages in Leicester and has contributed to national and international policy on issues affecting children and young people, most notably the national Surestart scheme which has benefited many thousands of children and their families.”

Anne Gibson, Acting managing Director of Norfolk County Council said: "I am delighted that Sheila is coming to Norfolk. Her experience in leading improvement in Children's Services is exactly what we need and I am looking forward to working with her. I know that she has done outstanding work for Cardiff and I am confident that she will do the same for Norfolk."

Ms Lock said: “I am really looking forward to coming to Norfolk and working with the team to improve outcomes for children and young people. Children’s Services is where my heart lies and where I think I can make the most difference. I have experience at building strong and effective teams – that is what I have been doing in Cardiff for the last six months and what I plan to do in Norfolk.”