Director of children’s services at Northamptonshire County Council set to leave

The county council's new offices at One Angel Square in Northampton
The county council's new offices at One Angel Square in Northampton

The director of children’s services at Northamptonshire County Council is leaving the post.

Council leader Matt Golby made the announcement today (Thursday) that Lesley Haggar, who has been in post for two years, will be leaving NCC.

The county’s children’s service department has just undergone an Ofsted inspection and the results will be made public in the coming weeks.

It has been in the requires improvement category since 2016 and was criticised at the time for using agency staff to plug a shortage of social workers.

Cllr Golby made the announcement at the Northamptonshire Health & Wellbeing Board.

The children’s service has just undergone a rebrand and is now being called Children’s First Northamptonshire.

The county council is assessing the potential to turn the children’s services into an arms length company, and has created a shadow board which will be trialled for six months to ‘test the benefits of working through an arms length organisation.’

The county’s other two arms length companies Olympus Care and First for Wellbeing, which were established two years ago, have now been brought back in-house after not delivering good enough results.

The companies were part of NCC’s previous chief executive Paul Blantern’s plan for a next generation council which would massively reduce staffing numbers and hope to deliver services for a profit.

The move to turn the children’s department into an arms-length organisation was questioned at the meeting by Assistant Chief Constable at Northamptonshire Police James Andronov, whose officers work closely with the county authority’s children’s staff.

He said: “Is this really a trial?

“If the trial does not work are we really going to be able to undo all of the work?”

Cllr Golby responded by saying: “There has been some really good work gone into this.

“We have set up area based teams across the county which is really positive.”

Lesley Haggar joined the county council in 2016 after being asked to undertake the role by the Department for Education.

She has 30 years’ experience of working with children and families and worked for NCC for 16 years before moving onto other roles at different councils.