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The Right Honourable Jacqui Smith to chair board of new Sandwell Children's Social Care Trust

Published 4th July 2017

The Right Honourable Jacqui Smith will chair the board of the new Sandwell Children's Social Care Trust.

Jacqui Smith, formerly Home Secretary and MP for Redditch, will support the trust's aim of delivering rapid improvements in children's services in her new role.

The board is tasked with driving innovation with effective multi-agency working to make a positive impact on those children most in need of protection and care.

Plans were announced by the Government in October 2016 to introduce an independent trust to run Sandwell’s children’s social care services.

Since then, the council has been working closely with Commissioner Malcolm Newsam and the Department for Education to agree detailed proposals about how the trust will work.

Speaking of her appointment, Jacqui said: “This is a really exciting opportunity to improve the lives of the most vulnerable children and families in Sandwell. When life gets tough for children, they deserve the best care and the best people to support them. My job is to help build that team by challenging us all to find the best ways to improve and innovate – and by making the trust a great place to work.

“I am looking forward to working closely with the council and its staff to ensure a smooth transition to the new arrangements.”

Following a successful teaching career, Jacqui Smith has operated over the past 20 years at the highest levels of policy development and leadership in the public sector as a cabinet minister and more recently as chair of both the internationally recognised University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust and more recently as the interim chair of the Heart of England NHS Trust.

Leader of Sandwell Council, Councillor Steve Eling, said: “I welcome Jacqui Smith’s appointment as chair of the trust and look forward to working with her as we launch a fresh approach for children's social care services in Sandwell.

“With the setting up of the trust, we want to build on recent improvements with a board that will focus on providing a clear vision, be innovative and strive to deliver rapid and sustained improvements.

"She has a wealth of experience to help the trust address the challenges we face and, working with all our key partners, improve social care services to children in Sandwell.”

Councillor Simon Hackett, cabinet member for children's services, added: “I have always said that if services are not good enough for my own children, they’re not good enough for other people’s children. I want every child in Sandwell to achieve their full potential and the new trust can help us do that.

“As chair of the trust, Jacqui can make sure our dedicated staff have the support and resources they need to help every child.

“I want the trust to be a centre of excellence and an employer of choice where staff want to come and work, with everyone focused on improving the lives of vulnerable children.”

Robert Goodwill, Minister for Children and Families, said: “Keeping children safe is vital, and we are clear that we take tough measures when councils are failing them.

“I am delighted that Jacqui Smith has been appointed as chair of the Children’s Services Trust in Sandwell, and look forward to working closely with her and the council as vital work progresses to ensure improvements are made for vulnerable children and families.”

The Rt Hon Jacqui Smith will start her role in July 2017.

The role of Chair of Sandwell Children's Social Care Trust is appointed and funded by the Department for Education.