21st October 2021

National recognition for Somerset’s Children’s Services as Director appointed to key role at new trust

Continued improvements to Children’s Services in Somerset have been recognised nationally with Somerset’s Director of Children’s Services appointed to a new key role by the Department for Education.

Julian Wooster has been appointed as Chair of Northamptonshire Children’s Services Trust Board from January in addition to his role as Director of Children’s Services at Somerset County Council. His appointment was confirmed this week by Vicky Ford, the Minister for Children and Families, on behalf of the Secretary of State.

Mr Wooster said: “I see this as a real compliment to our improvement journey and has come about as a direct result of the progress that we have made in Somerset.

“National recognition of our achievements is reflected in several areas recently – with the awarding of service development grants, rapid progress in the West Somerset Opportunity Area, praise for our Covid-19 initiatives in relation to Early Years, and recent mentions by ministers of our achievements across both social care and education. The investment in Family Safeguarding has emphasised the long-term commitment that exists in Somerset to address disadvantage.

“I am confident we are exceptionably well placed to continue to improve Children’s Services across the partnership in Somerset, and at the same time have the capacity to offer support to others.”

Cllr Frances Nicholson, Somerset County Council’s Lead Member for Children’s Services, said: “Icongratulate Julian on this well deserved appointment. It is very rewarding to see this clear national recognition of the progress and continuing improvement in Children’s Services in Somerset. As Julian says, it is a compliment to every person working in Children’s Services in Somerset and to their continuing commitment and hard work in improving the lives of our young people.”

The latest visit by Ofsted to Somerset in January 2019 found that vulnerable children were receiving an improving service with confident staff making good decisions.

Northamptonshire Children’s Trust in an independent trust inaugurated on 1 November to drive rapid improvement in children’s services across Northamptonshire.