Newham Council makes key children's services appointment

Newham Town Hall. Picture: Ken Mears

Newham Council has appointed a permanent director of operations and safeguarding for Children’s Services. - Credit: Archant

Newham Council has announced a key appointment in the borough’s children’s social care and safeguarding service.

Emma Cockerell has been made the permanent director of operations and safeguarding at the council, after nine months in the role on an interim basis.

Her portfolio of responsibilities within service including corporate parenting, support for vulnerable and disabled children and young people, and safeguarding.

Newham director of operations and safeguarding for children’s services Emma Cockerell.

Newham director of operations and safeguarding for children’s services Emma Cockerell. - Credit: Newham Council

An Ofsted monitoring visit in September found services for children in care and care leavers are improving - having been assessed as inadequate in 2019 - following a range of recent changes introduced by Ms Cockerell.

She said: “There is still much to do on our improvement journey but we are definitely on the right track and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to see through further key developments already in progress.

“I am fully committed to supporting the council’s ambition that all children grow up safe and well in the borough and fulfil their potential.”

Ms Cockerell, who has more than 26 years’ experience in social work, joined the council in April last year as the assistant director for quality assurance before taking over as interim director of operations and safeguarding in February.

The council says Ms Cockerell has introduced a range of measures to improve services, including increasing the number of staff directly supporting families and on permanent contracts.

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She also led the development of “a revised and updated joint strategic needs analysis”, working with key partners to ensure there is a shared understanding of risks and need for children in the borough.

Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz said: “When I took office as Mayor in 2018, Newham Council was letting our young people down and was rated inadequate by Ofsted.

“That why we have massively increased our investment in young people, increasing our youth workers from three to 43 and our Ofsted rating is improving.

“Emma has already demonstrated her strong focus and commitment to improving the conditions whereby good social work can thrive, taking a lead on the all the necessary improvements."