Surrey County Council has appointed Rachael Wardell as its new executive director of children, families and lifelong learning.
Ms Wardell will take up the post in early December, joining from her current role as director of children, schools and families for the London Borough of Merton.
Previously, she spent five years as director of children’s services and director of adult social services at West Berkshire Council, and also held posts at Wokingham Borough Council and Ofsted.
Her appointment follows the sudden death of the council’s previous executive director, Dave Hill in June.
‘Rachael is committed to continuing the vision the council has set and will build on the excellent work of everyone in the directorate to transform our services for children and families,’ said Surrey County Council chief executive, Joanna Killian.
‘This role is a pivotal one at the council, and essential to our external partnerships, and we are confident that Rachael will provide the leadership, focus and passion in pursuit of our improvement journey.
‘It has never been more important to focus on the happiness and wellbeing of our young people and I am confident that under Rachael’s leadership we will be able to do that. Dave left an enormous legacy, but I know that Rachael, who knew him well, will take it forward, extolling the importance that he attached to ensuring all our children are loved, cherished and supported to thrive.’
Ms Wardell added: ‘To be offered the opportunity of continuing the work Dave started is a huge personal privilege. Like many others, I was inspired by his approach, and I am excited to be part of further improving the wellbeing and opportunities for every child in Surrey.’
Council leader, Cllr Tim Oliver said: ‘This is a really crucial appointment for us. Rachael is committed to continuing the improvement of our children’s services and working to maximise the opportunities and potential of our young people.’
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