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James Thomas announced as new Chief Executive of children’s trust

After a national recruitment search, James Thomas, currently Director of Children’s Services in Tower Hamlets, has been appointed Chief Executive of Birmingham Children’s Trust.

11/09/23

James Thomas announced as new Chief Executive of children’s trust

James Thomas has been appointed as Chief Executive of Birmingham Children’s Trust.

The announcement follows Andy Couldrick’s decision to retire as Chief Executive and take on the role of Chair of Birmingham Children’s Trust Board.

James is an experienced Director having led children’s services in a number of different local authorities. Currently Corporate Director at the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, James has held senior positions at Westminster City Council, Tameside Council and Richmond-Upon-Thames Council.

Andy Couldrick, current Chief Executive said he is looking forward to working with James in his new role as Chair of the Trust Board.

“After a rigorous search, and from a strong field, I am delighted that James was successful. He was an outstanding candidate, and he has clear experience of delivering change and improvement in children’s services in different and complex environments and I have no doubt he will take Birmingham Children’s Trust on to further success.”

James, who will join Birmingham Children’s Trust in December 2023, said he “could not be more thrilled to be appointed”.

“As a proud Social Worker and experienced strategic leader, I will seek to build on the strong foundations that Andy and his team have built, to deliver continual improvement for children's outcomes, and to take the Trust from strength to strength.”

Earlier this year, Birmingham Children’s Trust was recognised as making significant progress in improving the experiences and outcomes of children by the children’s social care inspectorate, being rated ‘Good’ by Ofsted.

Prior to that, children’s social care services in Birmingham had been graded ‘Inadequate’ by Ofsted since 2010 and had been failing for longer.

Government intervention, along with the appointment of a series of commissioners, meant that Birmingham City Council took the decision to deliver its social care services through a Trust in January 2017.

In 2018, Birmingham Children’s Trust was set up with the intention to create the conditions that enable good social work and family support to flourish.

Through 2017 and early 2018 monitoring reports found continued and steady progress, and a full Ofsted inspection saw children’s services upgraded from ‘Inadequate’ to ‘Requires Improvement’.

However, following an inspection in April 2023, all five areas were given a ‘Good’ grading, with many positive highlights focusing on areas including the quality of staff leadership, partnership working, safeguarding and corporate parenting.

Read the full Ofsted report from earlier this year: https://reports.ofsted.gov.uk/provider/44/80429

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