Havering Council has appointed Robert South as its new acting director of children’s services.
Robert joined Havering in February 2016 as a head of service before being promoted a year later to assistant director.
He takes over from Tim Aldridge, who has been appointed as the new Corporate Director of Children and Young People for Newham Council.
Robert began his career in his native Manchester as a volunteer and mentor, before becoming a qualified social worker in 1995.
He has an extensive professional background in children’s services and probation work, having worked in safeguarding, family support, fostering, adoption, early help and children in care services, amongst others.
Since joining Havering, he has contributed to the development and implementation of Face-to-Face Havering, which has introduced a new more relationship-based way of working with children and families. The successful impact of this way of working with families was formally recognised by Ofsted during its 2018 inspection of Havering children’s services. They praised the service for its rapid progress and graded it as “Good”.
Robert said he was honoured to take on the new role and was looking forward to working with children and families, young people, staff across the council and elected members to build upon progress made over the last 3 years.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed a wonderful period of working with people in Havering. We look forward to continuing to harness the great dynamism and energy of our staff and local communities to deliver consistently good and improving services for children and young people.
“My passion is to continue to build upon our good work in a way that actively involves communities and the people we support in the way services are run, to ensure we meet their ever changing needs. Increasingly, we aim to meet the needs of families at an early stage in order to prevent and reduce disruption, and to support independence for children and their parents.”
Councillor Robert Benham, Havering’s Cabinet member for Education, Children and Families, said:
“We warmly welcome Robert South to his new position as director. He has a wealth of experience and expertise which we value highly in Havering and I look forward to continuing to work with him to improve the outcomes for children, young people and families in the borough.”
Jane Carroll, former head of service, will fill Robert’s role, as acting assistant director of children’s care.