Experienced ‘turnaround’ leaders in Surrey County Council & structure and team transformation


Joanna Killian started work as the Surrey County Council (CC) CEO at the start of April but had already been meeting with county council and local council leaders prior to that. She was previously CEO of Essex CC, achieving a remarkable turnaround on the quality and financial viability of services.

A new Executive Director for Children, Family and Learning, Dave Hill, has been in place since the end of April. He brings considerable experience and successful change management to the role. He joined from Essex County Council where he was Executive Director for Social Care and Education: and achieved a transformation to an ‘Outstanding’ service. He is also DfE’s Children’s Commissioner for Norfolk CC and Birmingham City Council Children’s Services, where again a similar transformation has been achieved. He worked for Joanna Killian at Essex CC.

FVS Chair, David Izatt, met with Dave Hill on 9 July, after just 9 weeks in post: he was impressed with the significant knowledge and understanding already being shown, and the recognition of having short term challenges to urgently meet, but also the scale and likely timeframe of the overall transformation needed.

DfE has appointed Trevor Doughty as their Children’s Commissioner in Surrey. He is Strategic Director Children, Families and Adults for Cornwall CC: in this role he has turned around a failing service. He has been working in Surrey since June and will have to sign-off on Surrey’s capability to undertake Children’s Services, in September. Once this is agreed, DfE monitoring will commence.

Surrey CC structure and team transformation

A major transformation is underway that will take to the end of 2018 to complete.

Joanna Killian, CEO, has been re-organising the Surrey CC leadership team and building the local area partnership in Surrey.

Dave Hill, Executive Director for Children, Family and Learning, has been creating the children, families and learning organisation and appointing people within this, seeking all his directors in post by end of July, and the next tier down by end of August, such that the full transformation is complete by the end of 2018, ready for the service transformation work to commence.

In addition, he has been selectively bringing in ‘best practice’ from other local authorities to transform key services: and bringing in additional capacity for change management of services, alongside the restructuring.

We will engage with the appropriate Director(s) with responsibility for SEND prior to the end of August.

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