Children's Improvement Board

The Children's Improvement Board (or 'Ofsted Priority Action Board') was established in September 2018 to oversee the children's improvement programme following the inspection and subsequent Children's Services Ofsted report published in May 2018 on the Ofsted website.

The purpose of the Board is:

  • To ensure that improvements are delivered across all agencies that support & deliver services for children in Surrey that address the concerns and recommendations from the 2018 Ofsted inspection.
  • To ensure improvements are sufficiently embedded across Surrey County Council and partner agencies that the existing scrutiny and oversight groups can monitor and scrutinise improvement activity on an ongoing basis.

The collective roles and responsibilities of the board are:

  • To advise, support and challenge the County Council and its partners to secure sustainable improvements and high level performance in children's services following the Ofsted Inspection.
  • To ensure that all recommendations set out in the Ofsted 2018 re-inspection report and subsequent Monitoring Visit reports are successfully implemented by the County Council and its partners.
  • To develop and agree the Improvement Plan and regularly monitor, review and update progress.
  • To ensure that children, young people, families and frontline staff inform the development of improvement actions and are able to assess the progress made in delivering these.
  • To give assurance that a culture of improvement is embedded across all agencies and that within this there is an understanding and recognition of good social work practice.
  • To work alongside existing strategic governance and accountability frameworks including the Surrey Safeguarding Children Board, the Health and Wellbeing Board, the Children and Young People's Partnership Board, the Corporate Parenting Board and relevant scrutiny groups.

Members of the Children's Improvement Board

Since the first meeting, the Board has been chaired independently by experienced leaders in children's services. Membership of the Board is made up of representatives from the council and key partner organisations; the current members are as follows:

  • Simon Hart, Independent Chair of the Surrey Safeguarding Children's Partnership (Chair)
  • Clare Curran, Cabinet Member for Children and Families, Surrey County Council
  • Rachael Wardell, Executive Director of Children, Families and Lifelong Learning, Surrey County Council
  • Sara Barrington, Associate Director for Safeguarding, Surrey Downs Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Sailesh Limbachia, T/Detective Chief Superintendent, Public Protection, Surrey Police
  • Tom Horwood, Chief Executive, Waverley Borough Council (representing District and Borough Councils)
  • Lisa Herrington, Chief Executive, Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner for Surrey
  • Mary Ellen McCarthy, Executive Principal, Lumen Learning Trust (representing schools and colleges)
  • Patricia Denney, Director of Children's Quality Assurance, Surrey County Council
  • Tina Benjamin, Director of Corporate Parenting, Surrey County Council
  • El Mayhew, Interim Director of Family Resilience & Safeguarding, Surrey County Council
  • Gill Halden, Assistant Director, Quality Practice, Surrey County Council
  • Liam Ennis, Department for Education
  • Trevor Doughty, former Non-Executive Commissioner for Surrey's Children's Services
  • Howard Bromley, Senior Programme Manager, Surrey County Council

Improvement updates

Our improvement programme has continued over the last 18 months throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and related lockdowns. While the Covid-19 pandemic put a strain on resources across children's services and we are seeing an increase in demand for support, the focus on improving practice has not stopped. It is critical to our journey to providing good and outstanding services for children and families in Surrey and has therefore remained a priority for the council throughout this pandemic.

The next iteration of the improvement plan - the 'Getting to Good' plan - was developed over the summer of 2020. The plan incorporates the learning from previous inspections, peer reviews, feedback from children and families and the significant amount of quality assurance work and external scrutiny. The plan goes beyond the inspection findings from 2018; Effective Family Resilience is an entirely new practice model and therefore a more ambitious and innovative improvement plan is required to ensure you we can deliver consistently good quality services.

For more information about our improvement programme and plans for the future please view the improvement update reports below: