Croydon Council has appointed Debbie Jones as interim executive director for children, families and education.
Debbie has a wealth of experience in senior leadership roles for children services, with a strong track record of driving improvement, leading transformation and modernising services to deliver for local communities.
Her appointment will ensure robust leadership for this vital service until the council recruits permanently to the post, during what is an important time for Croydon as the borough transforms to become financially sustainable while continuing to respond to Covid-19.
In a career spanning several decades she has worked at local authorities across the country including Lambeth, Luton, Stoke-on-Trent, Durham, Slough and Oxfordshire, and comes to Croydon most recently from Tower Hamlets, where she was corporate director for children and culture.
Under her leadership, Tower Hamlet’s children’s services went from an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating to achieve ‘good’ within two years. Previously at Lambeth, she oversaw four ‘outstanding’ children’s social care inspections.
Debbie has strong regional and national links, having worked as a regional director for London and National Director for Social Care (2013-2015) for Ofsted and from 2012-13 Debbie was president of the national Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS).
Debbie also holds a post with the Department for Education, as local authority facilitator for safeguarding reform, which she will continue alongside her new role at Croydon.
“Children and young people have always been our top priority and through our improvement programme, we have ensured that they are firmly at the heart of all we do. We were pleased to achieve a ‘good’ Ofsted rating earlier this year and despite the challenges we are facing post Covid-19, we are determined to keep on getting better, ensuring our most vulnerable children and families get the right help, at the right time. I look forward to working with Debbie, our staff, and children and families, as we develop our services to meet their needs now and in the future.”
Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, young people and learning
Debbie said: “I’m delighted to be joining Croydon at this time and look forward to working with members, staff across the service and organisation, and all of the council’s partners, all of whom have played a vital role in transforming and improving children’s social care to date. Croydon has made much progress in the last two years and put some solid foundations in place, creating the right environment for high quality practice to flourish. I look forward to working with the team across children’s services and education to build on these and together, drive forward even further improvements in a way that is sustainable for the council we want to become.”