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Former Children's Commissioner appointed to board of Bradford Children's Trust

Bradford Children and Families Trust has appointed five new non-executive directors to its Board, including former Children’s Commissioner for England Anne Longfield and former Leeds Director of Children's Services Nigel Richardson CBE.

05/10/22

Former Children's Commissioner appointed to board of Bradford Children's Trust

Bradford Children and Families Trust has announced board members who will direct the Trust in its development.

The Board is currently operating as a Shadow-Board until 1 April 2023 when the Trust will ‘go live’ and the same Board members will become members of the permanent Bradford Children and Families Trust Board.

The Board will also welcome two Council non-executive directors and further information will be released once they are confirmed.

The decision to form a Trust was made in January 2022 in response to a report from Children's Commissioner, Steve Walker. The Commissioner worked with the Council to establish the best way to improve children’s social care following Ofsted’s inadequate rating in 2018.

The Trust is currently being set up to take on the running of children's social care services and the council says it will have a “single focus on children's care across the Bradford District”.

The new Board members come from a variety of backgrounds and will bring a wealth of expertise and experience to help direct the Trust as it becomes established and to drive forward improvements for children’s social care services.

Included in the board will be Anne Longfield CBE, former Children’s Commissioner for England and now Chair of the Commission on Young Lives. Anne was Special Advisor to the Lords Public Services Committee on their inquiry into public services and vulnerable children and is the Independent Chair of the NHS Children and Young People Learning Disability and Autism Board.

Also included is Nigel Richardson CBE, most recently Director of Children's Services at Leeds City Council where he successfully helped develop the idea of Leeds as a 'Child Friendly City'. He now works as a consultant, a Department of Education Commissioner and Improvement Advisor helping organisations develop effective approaches to child welfare issues.

The board will also include Darra Singh OBE, the son of first-generation migrants who moved to inner city Bradford from the Punjab in 1959. He passed through the full education system in the city and his personal experiences in Bradford as a young person have been a strong motivator throughout his career. Darra has worked across all sectors at a range of different levels, starting in the voluntary sector working with housing charities and becoming CEO of housing associations. Darra has been CEO of Luton Borough Council, London Borough of Ealing and also Jobcentre Plus. He has experience of non-executive roles including Chair of Barnardo's Audit and Risk Committee for five years and is now the Chair of the Employers Network for Equality and Inclusion.

Other board members Tracey Dennison and Stuart Proud will join Eileen Milner, already announced as Chair of the Trust. Milner said the newly-appointed board members will “bring a wealth of experience that the Trust and Bradford will benefit from enormously”.

“They join us at an important time as we focus on the set-up of the Trust to ensure the smooth and successful transfer of services from the council. We will be working closely with staff and partners in the district over the coming months to get their input on the type of organisation they want the Trust to be. And we will be focusing specifically on the values they would like to see as the foundation for what we will care about most.”

Councillor Susan Hinchcliffe, Leader of Bradford Council, said it is “very exciting” to see such a wealth of talent joining the Chair and the Council representatives on the Trust Board.

“Their experience, knowledge and passion for young people will be a huge boost to our district’s improvement journey and provides a step change in our shared ambition to transform children’s services. I want to welcome them and we will be working to support the Shadow-Board in every way we can.”

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