Rob Morrison, Chairman
Rob has wide ranging senior leadership experience having worked in a number of local authorities, including nearly ten years as Chief Executive Officer of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council.
Following his retirement in 2011, he re-located to Wolverhampton and was appointed Chair of Engaging Communities Staffordshire (ECS) in 2012 a community interest company whose major role was to provide Healthwatch services in Staffordshire initially, but following its success, it expanded and now provides Healthwatch for 9 local authorities across the country as well as advocacy services in 3 local authorities.
He was appointed as Chair of Worcestershire Children First by the Secretary of State for Education, through a collaborative process with Worcestershire County Council, and is funded by the Department for Education.
Rob commented on his appointment as being an exciting opportunity to use his knowledge and experience to provide the Board Leadership required to continue the improvement journey and improve the outcomes for all children and young people.
Dr Catherine Driscoll, Chief Executive (Designate)
Catherine has worked in the NHS in both mental health and community settings, in the voluntary and community sector and, for the last 20 years, in Local Authorities. She was the Director for Adult and Community Services in Dorset County Council before moving to her current role of Director of Children, Families and Communities for Worcestershire in June 2016. She has a PhD from the School of Public Policy at The University of Birmingham.
In addition to her role as Chief Executive of Worcestershire Children First she will fulfil Worcestershire County Council’s statutory Director of Children’s Services role. Speaking about her role Catherine said it is a great privilege for her to be able to continue the work to improve outcomes for Worcestershire’s children and young people. She is looking forward to building on the progress of the last two years and working with the talented and committed staff within the company.
Tina Russell, Director (Designate) Social Care & Safeguarding
Tina began her career working with vulnerable children as a nursery nurse and then as a residential social worker social worker before qualifying as a social worker in 1992. Post-qualifying, Tina worked across seven different local authorities over 20 years building up a depth of experience in a wide range of social work roles before moving to her first Assistant Director post in 2014. She joined Worcestershire in October 2016. The rest as they say is history!
Her personal and professional ambitions are the same thing: as a social worker, manager and mother, Tina wants “to make sure children are happier, healthier and safer”. As Director of Children’s Social Care and Safeguarding for Worcestershire Children First Tina says: “I will use my experience, my influence and my authority to realise that ambition and ensure our staff and our company have all the things we need to deliver high quality services that make a difference to the lives of children and young people”.
Sarah Wilkins, Director (Designate) Education and Early Help
Sarah has over 25 years’ experience working in the public sector, primarily in children’s services, including roles in education, social care and early help. She joined Worcestershire County Council in December 2016 having previously worked at Shropshire Council since 2001. Sarah is a values’ driven and committed Local Authority Senior Officer with over 10 years' experience of senior management and system leadership including both service delivery and commissioning.
Phil Rook, Director of Resources
Phil has wide ranging senior financial leadership experience having worked in all areas of local government finance including four years as Finance Director of Tricuro, a Local Authority Trading Company wholly owned by Dorset, Poole and Bournemouth Councils. This included leading implementation from Council to a stable company. Prior to Tricuro, Phil worked for Dorset County Council in numerous senior finance role at both regional and national capacity.
Councillor Karen May, Non-Executive Director (WCC)
Karen has been a councillor at Worcestershire County Council since 2017 and is the Cabinet Member with responsibility for Transformation and Commissioning. In 2019 she was appointed the Leader of Bromsgrove District Council, which she has served since 2015. Karen has a strong interest in supporting and working with the community having been a member of Bournheath Parish Council for the last 14 years.
Councillor Marcus Hart, Non-Executive Director (WCC)
Marcus has been a councillor at Worcestershire County Council since 2005 and is the Cabinet Member with responsibility for Education and Skills. He has served as a district councillor in Wyre Forest since 2002, during which time he was Deputy Leader for 10 years and Leader for 5 years. Marcus is also a Parish Councillor on Wolverley and Cookley Parish Council where he lives. He was a school governor of a primary school from 2002-2015, a secondary school from 2006-2017 and a special school from 2009-2014. Marcus has been a solicitor since 2003 and specialises in mental health law and criminal law and works for Morgan Cullen and Ball in Birmingham.
Andrew Spice, Non-Executive Director (WCC)
Andrew joined Worcestershire County Council in April 2018 as their Director of Commercial and Commissioning. He has a broad range of experience having spent most of his early career at Royal Mail Group before undertaking a number of senior roles in public service organisations including the NHS. Prior to joining Worcestershire, Andrew was at Essex County Council for four and a half years undertaking a number of roles including Commercial Director. Andrew has extensive Non – Executive Director experience in the public and private sectors.
Claire Burgess, Non-Executive Director (Independent)
Claire has 30 years’ experience working in a variety of roles in the children’s sector. Her professional background is in social work having worked as a social worker and manager in Worcestershire for 13 years. More recently she has worked as a social care adviser to the Department for Education and a Children’s Improvement Adviser for the Local Government Association in the South West and West Midlands regions.
Gareth Moss, Non-Executive Director (Independent)
Gareth is a qualified accountant (CIPFA) and former Director of Resources in local government having previously won LGC Finance Director of the Year. He is also non-executive chairman of the John Taylor Multi Academy Trust, a mixed Trust based in Staffordshire and advises the Regional Schools Commissioner and Academies Minister on running successful multi-academy trusts.
Sally Taylor, Non-Executive Director (Independent)
Sally is an education professional whose career includes positions as Director of Education and Commissioning for Birmingham City Council and Assistant Director for Children’s Services for Oxfordshire County Council. Most recently as a consultant she was the interim Chief Executive of the Arthur Terry Learning Partnership and then Interim Assistant Director for Education for Warwickshire County Council.