On Sunday this article was published in the Children and Young People Now magazine online, written by Nina Jacobs. It was focused on the call back in late 2019 for the “Plans to hand over control of children’s services in West Sussex to an independent trust” which has now been shelved after “continued and secure progress” was made by the County Council. The latest public report can be obtained from here. The magazine article goes on to state that “The recommendation, put forward in December 2019 by government-appointed commissioner John Coughlan, followed an inspection of the council’s children’s services that judged them to be inadequate. At the time, Coughlan published a report that laid bare the extent of the problems in West Sussex including criticism of the corporate culture at the council.”
At the end of 2019 one of the significant changes that was made by the West Sussex Council was that the person who had been the Chief Executive in East Sussex since 2010 was appointed to take on the same role in West Sussex and she is continuing to do so. I had the privilege of working alongside Becky Shaw in a number of Committee settings from 2001 to 2014 when I was working in a Sussex wide faith sector agency. The previous West Sussex Chief Executive who had been in the role for three and a half years left after a 2 month suspension during late 2019. There is a clear indication that the work that Becky has carried out over the last 29 months has significantly improved the way that the Council has been working. There is still a great deal of work to improve, but it is great news that the Council has moved forward during the time that Becky has been their CEO.