Director behind transformation of Rotherham children’s services awarded CBE

Other social care professionals named on the New Year honours list for 2019 include council leaders and the founder of Pause project

Ian Thomas, strategic director of children's services, Rotherham Council

The former strategic director of Rotherham council children’s services has been awarded a CBE for his role in transforming the fortunes of the once troubled council.

Ian Thomas, now the incoming chief executive at Kingston council, helped to turn around the performance of Rotherham council’s children’s services after it was rated ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted following the 2014 Jay report that exposed the child sexual exploitation of approximately 1,400 children in the area.

Thomas was credited for his role in assisting the local authority to achieve a ‘good’ rating in its latest Ofsted inspection published at the start of 2018, with the watchdog finding the council had taken a “systematic and rigorous approach to improvement”.

Thomas has more than 30 years’ local government experience and has held senior leadership positions at Derbyshire, Lewisham and Trafford councils.

Mary Ney, one of the five commissioners at Rotherham council during the child sexual exploitation scandal, was also recognised by the Queen as she was made a dame. Ney helped to improve performance and rebuild the trust of local residents and also played a key role in ensuring taxi drivers in the area were trained in how to spot the signs of child sexual exploitation and report incidents.

Ney has enjoyed a 40-year career in local government, culminating in her serving as chief executive of Greenwich council.

Council leaders recognised

A number of social care directors were recognised on this year’s honours list, with acting director for children’s social care at Lincolnshire council, Janice Spencer, receiving an OBE for her services to children’s social care.

Spencer, who is also on the national adoption leadership board, joined the council in 1992 as a social worker and was appointed assistant director of children’s services in 2012.

Head of paid service at the council, Debbie Barnes, said Spencer had been “hugely important” in turning the council into a leading figure in supporting children, young people and their families.

‘Driving force’ behind ‘outstanding’ rating

Leeds council deputy director of children’s services, Sal Tariq, was another social work professional to be recognised, having been awarded an OBE for his services to children’s services in the city.

The council was revealed to have been the latest to achieve an ‘outstanding’ rating from Ofsted in its published inspection findings at the end of 2018.

Chief executive of Leeds council, Tom Riordan, said it was “great” to see his colleague’s contributions recognised.

“Sal has made a huge difference to social work practice in Leeds, and more recently in Kirklees, and has been a driving force behind our recent outstanding rating for Leeds children’s services.”

Tariq began his social work career as a residential social worker with looked after children and young people but has also worked with children and adults with learning disabilities.

Social care honours

Louise Walker, head of social work and professional standards at Redcar and Cleveland council, was given an MBE for her services to adult and children’s social care. Walker, also a gold winner at the national Social Worker of the Year Awards in 2017, has been recognised for her work in raising the profile of social work and engaging with frontline staff.

Meanwhile, social work manager at South Eastern Health and Social Care Trust Sheila Simons was awarded the same honour for her services to social care and the protection of women and children.

Angela Windle, team leader of the child protection, safeguarding and family law team at the Department for Education, was awarded an OBE for her services to children’s social care and the community in Sheffield. Essex council social worker Aimee Hinton was awarded the British Empire Medal.

BASW member recognised

British Association of Social Workers (BASW) committee member Louise Purse was awarded an MBE for her services to social work and social work education, while Margaret Barrett, a member of the social worker fitness practice panels from the Health and Care Professions Tribunal Service, was awarded an MBE for services to leadership for adult social services.

Awards for Pause founder and No Wrong Door boss

The founder of Pause, which works with women who have experienced, or are at risk of, repeat removals of their children into care, was awarded an OBE for her services to children’s social care.

Sophie Humphreys founded the organisation in 2014 after witnessing the consequences of repeat removals to children and their families when working as the lead of Homerton Hospital’s (Hackney) child protection service.

James Cliffe, manager of No Wrong Door, a North Yorkshire council service which offers multi-agency support to looked-after children with complex needs, was awarded an MBE.

The full honours list can be found here

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