Chief exec appointed to oversee new model for Birmingham children’s services

Andy Couldrick will move from Wokingham council to head up the new model for delivering children’s services in Birmingham

Andy Couldrick
Andy Couldrick

The independent trust that will take on responsibility for children’s services in Birmingham has appointed its first chief executive.

Andy Couldrick, who has previously worked as Wokingham council’s chief executive and a director of children’s services in Oxfordshire, will oversee day-to-day running of the trust.

Birmingham council decided to shift children’s services into a trust last year. The services have a troubled history, having been rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted in the last three inspections. The trust is expected to be fully set up by April 2018.

Couldrick said the changes offered an opportunity to drive improvements and build on the “fantastic work” of social workers in the council.

He said: “As a social worker myself, I know how challenging and how rewarding what we do is, and how we have the opportunity, together, to change lives.

“Anything I and the new trust can do, to make these challenges easier, to help improve how we work together, and to keep hold of the strong relationship with the city council, will be a pleasure as well as a privilege. I can’t wait to start.”

Positive

Speaking to Community Care, the trust’s chair Andrew Christie said there was “very early evidence” that moves to shift Doncaster and Slough’s children’s services into trusts had led to improvements. He said staff in Birmingham had shown “cautious enthusiasm” about the new model.

“I’m encouraged by how positively disposed staff – in the main – are to it. They have lots of questions that still need to be answered and I absolutely recognise and understand that, but I am very happy with the degree of support we are getting,” he said.

Christie said Birmingham’s trust had set up a staff reference group because “it’s really important in the trust that we value support staff as much as some senior social work managers”.

The reference group is working on the trust’s plans to have a social work representative in its governance arrangements.

The next task for the trust is to appoint more of its senior staff, like a head of human resources, finance and IT, Christie said, adding: “In two to three years’ time I would expect us to have made more progress to improve outcomes for vulnerable children and made quite a radical change to partnership working in the city.”

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One Response to Chief exec appointed to oversee new model for Birmingham children’s services

  1. Philip Measures May 20, 2017 at 8:16 am #

    I hope that this will be far more than just a further ‘moving of the deckchairs’ on a sinking ship. The underlying causes of Birmingham Children’s Services failures over very many years have never been properly addressed – and retaining Birmingham as this large ‘dinosaur’ of a Department is likely to thwart this new move also. There has been a long-lasting and quite pernicious culture in Birmingham where Politicians and senior Managers have resisted all attempts at positive change and so very many good managers and staff have duly left. The Government also needs to adequately resource social care so that there are good and effective preventive and protective resourc es in place and easily accessible. Sadly, I see the problem as politically not solvable either nationally or locally. Social work as I knew it is dead.