Today dawned bright, sunny and hot, but our world here at Family Voice Surrey has been plunged into something of a cold winter this morning.
We awoke to the very sad news from Surrey County Council that Dave Hill, Director of Children's Services, had passed away suddenly.
Dave has been in post at Surrey since 2018 and has been responsible for a considerable change in culture and activity.
He welcomed Family Voice Surrey into his office from day one, and always showed great empathy and understanding for the experience of our families in Surrey. He was passionate about improving SEND services and improving the lives and outcomes of some of the most vulnerable families in Surrey. The team at Family Voice Surrey will not forget his plain speaking, enthusiasm and openness in striving to ensure that we all work together in partnership with families and always championing diversity. Dave leaves a plan that all his staff are determined to bring to fruition.
Senior staff at SCC have been incredibly open to us today and are keen to reassure you that his work and plan will continue , and that you will always have someone that you can contact.
We know that families have often reached out to Dave and emailed him directly when they felt stuck in their SEND experience. I'm grateful to Liz Mills (Director Education, Lifelong Learning & Culture) for asking me to let you know that she is ready to take on this role during the period of uncertainty that will no doubt follow. Liz can be contacted by email : firstname.lastname@example.org.
Family Voice Surrey know that Dave built a strong and cohesive team to run children's services, and that they will be reeling from the loss, not only of a colleague, but a friend.
Our hearts and thoughts especially go out to Dave's family during a time that is always and inevitably unimaginable.
Family Voice Surrey will continue to work hard to bring about Dave's vision of a community in Surrey that works collaboratively across the local authority, health services, schools and the voluntary sector. We believe, as he did, that this is the only way in which we can make Surrey a place for children to truly thrive.