Croydon Council has appointed a new executive director for children, families and education, with a strong track record in driving transformation to bring ‘good’ services to the heart of local communities.
Robert Henderson comes to the role with over 25 years of experience working with children, young people and families at both strategic and operational level. He is currently director of children’s services, and deputy chief executive of Achieving for Children, for the London Borough of Richmond and the Royal Borough of Kingston.
In 2014 Robert was part of the leadership team that led the transformation of children’s services for Richmond and Kingston Councils into a community interest company, Achieving for Children, which delivers the whole spectrum of children’s services in both boroughs. As part of this he has played a key role in developing an area-based model of service-delivery, bringing together early help, education support and social care services in community hubs to offer better support for families.
Robert has considerable experience in driving improvement as a senior children’s services manager. He recently led Richmond Council to a ‘good’ Ofsted outcome in October 2017, and previously was part of the leadership team that oversaw Kingston’s improvement journey from ‘inadequate’ to ‘good’ within two years.
“One year into our children’s services improvement plan we have made significant progress, laying down some solid foundations, but we must keep up the momentum and maintain our focus on the priority areas. We welcome Robert to Croydon at a key stage on our journey and his appointment as a dedicated executive director for children’s services is an important milestone in itself.”
Councillor Tony Newman, leader of the council
Councillor Alisa Flemming, cabinet member for children, families and learning, said: “I’m pleased to welcome Robert to Croydon. We have made children’s services a top priority for this council, and I and my cabinet colleagues are determined that we transform them to put children and young people at the heart of everything we do. While much has been achieved we still have some way to go, and I very much look forward to working with Robert as we continue on our improvement journey.”
Jo Negrini, chief executive for Croydon Council, said: “I’m delighted to announce Robert’s appointment. I’m confident that he shares our vision for high-quality services for our children and families in Croydon and that his extensive experience and expertise will be invaluable as we continue our improvement journey.”
Robert said: “I’m passionate about achieving the best we can for our children, protecting them from harm, promoting their wellbeing and supporting them to achieve their full potential. Croydon has clearly demonstrated its commitment to improving its services for children and young people and is investing significantly to achieve positive change. I’m looking forward to joining the team and continuing their work to make a difference to children and families.”
Robert will start at Croydon on 17 December.