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New director for children’s services for Dorset
3:35pm Monday 23rd September 2013 in News
Dorset County Council has appointed a new director for children’s services.
Sara Tough will join the council in the new year.
Sara is currently service director for children, families and community health at Swindon Borough Council where she has worked for the past five years.
Sara, 54, began her career as a social worker with Shropshire County Council after completing a degree in sociology at Goldsmith’s London and gaining her social work qualification at Swansea University.
She became a team manager, then service manager at Shropshire before moving into the private sector as a director working with very traumatised children and managing a residential care setting.
She also acted as an expert witness in court cases and supported local authorities before moving back to the public sector at the unitary Telford Borough Council.
She managed a major change programme to integrate a wide range of services for children and improve outcomes for them.
At Swindon she has set up a new integrated children’s service, which includes social care, education, youth support and community health.
Sara said: “I have a real passion for making sure the whole system works well together in the interests of the children we support. For me it’s about closing the gaps to help children with the challenges they face in their lives and helping families build their resilience to become more self reliant.
“Practitioners working with children have a very unique and special set of skills which need to be used across the whole range of services to benefit children and young people.
“I’m absolutely delighted and really excited to be coming to Dorset. I feel that I will fit well with the way the council needs to develop in future, particularly in light of the financial challenges.”
Sara will replace Jackie Last, who is retiring at the end of October. Jackie, the council's former deputy director for children's services, took over from John Nash in September 2012.
Dorset County Council's chief executive Debbie Ward said: “This is a vitally important role for the county council and I am delighted we have been able to appoint Sara. Her energy, commitment to children and young people and enthusiasm in coming to the county made her the obvious choice.”
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