Sixty Second Interview

Sixty Second Interview with Naomi EisenstadtNaomi Eisenstadt

By Amy Taylor

What do you anticipate being the main policy and practice issues you will be dealing with in your new job in the first six months?

We have a very big and ambitious agenda, as you know.  Right now we’re focusing on the youth green paper,  parenting strategy, looked after children, and front line practice in children’s centres. We’re also looking at multi-disciplinary working more generally and the role of the lead professional. I’m talking to all my colleagues to agree key priority areas


You have a voluntary sector background. Do you anticipate more voluntary sector involvement in children’s services in the future as councils move towards becoming more focussed on commissioning as opposed to service provision?

I do anticipate more voluntary sector involvement, and indeed, more social enterprise and private sector involvement.  In childcare we already have a very vibrant private sector market.  We want to make sure that as local authorities get to grips with requirements in the Childcare Bill, involvement of the private and voluntary sectors increases.  I hope that local authorities and primary care trustsworking together on children’s trusts will be commissioning an increasingly wide range of children’s services from all sectors.


Your previous areas of responsibility were mainly focused around the early years. Are you looking forward to branching out into other areas of children’ services?

I am really looking forward to branching out.  In my previous jobs both at Save the Children and FSU I had involvement in other children’s services, but I have so much to catch up on and new stuff to learn.  I am particularly interested in how we take some of the learning about joined up services in the early years, into integrated services for older children and young people, and how we balance children’s emerging need for independence and support for parents. 


If you could swap places with a frontline professional which one would it be?

If you mean in children’s services, I have to say my first love is still nursery or reception class teaching.  If I had my choice of any profession, I’d love to be a film critic or a chef, but both involve very unsocial hours.


What are your plans for the holidays?

My plans for the holidays are always the same.  I am Jewish and don’t do Christmas at home. So my partner and I happily go to everyone else’s parties and then close the door for a few days, sit by the fire, read very undemanding novels (me, he reads real books), eat nice food, and forget about work. 


Will you be making any new year’s resolutions?

I don’t make resolutions because I never keep them, and it is just one more thing to feel guilty about not doing. 

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