Birmingham council has recruited the head of Lincolnshire’s ‘outstanding’ social services department to help transform its troubled children’s services.
Peter Duxbury, a former social worker and youth justice worker, will become strategic director of Birmingham’s children’s services in April.
He has been director of Lincolnshire’s children’s services since 2005, leading the department from an adequate to outstanding Ofsted rating. He was formerly Liverpool’s director of children’s services.
Birmingham council leader Mike Whitby, also chair of the authority’s children’s services taskforce, said the role came with a “high expectation from the council, and from the government, as a key priority area for Birmingham”.
“I have every confidence that Peter will do an excellent job in continuing the evolution of the service,” he said.
Councillor Les Lawrence, cabinet member for children, young people and families, said the decision to appoint Duxbury was “unanimous”.
Birmingham council has been working to improve its children’s services after a number of damning inspections and child deaths led to a government improvement notice.
The high-profile death of Khyra Ishaq also put practice at the council’s children’s services under the spotlight. According to the full verion of the serious case review into the child’s death, the primary social worker in the case had a workload of 50 allocated cases.
In December 2010, an investigation by Community Care revealed Birmingham had 58 child protection cases and 644 looked-after child cases unallocated to a social worker, and 736 child-in-need cases unallocated to any professional.
Eleanor Brazil, the director responsible for turning around Haringey’s social services following the death of Baby P, has been interim director of Birmingham’s children’s services for the last 18 months.
She has helped deliver a number of key improvements, including the development of better early intervention services for children and families in need.
Inform Guide: Child neglect
Birmingham social services children’s director told to ‘stop making excuses’