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Norfolk announces sixth children's services director in four years

Sara Tough is the new director of children's services for Norfolk. Credit: Norfolk County Council.

Norfolk will soon welcome its sixth head of children's services in just over four years.

The county council has announced Sara Tough, a former social worker and the current director of children's services in Dorset, will take on the role from October.

She replaces Matt Dunkley, who has been interim director since January.

Norfolk County Council managing director Wendy Thomson hopes Ms Tough will be the person to finally improve the department's "inadequate" Ofsted rating and bring an end to its formal government intervention.

"She is a first-class children's services director, with an impressive track record, who will take forward the improvements that are well underway in Norfolk.

"Our ambition is to move up in the Ofsted rating from 'inadequate' to 'requires improvement' at the next inspection, which is expected later this year or early next year. We are committed to providing quality services for Norfolk’s children and their families."

– Wendy Thomson, Managing Director, Norfolk County Council.

Ms Tough has promised to "bring a relentless focus on outcomes, strong core services and partnership working" to help continue improvement in Norfolk.

Children's services' troubled spell in Norfolk stretches back a number of years, with the department first attracting criticism from Ofsted back in February 2013.

At that time, Lisa Christensen held the role of director and made way for Sheila Lock in July 2013 before Michael Rosen, a former assistant director for the authority, stepped up in 2015.

His sudden departure was announced in November 2016 and he has since been succeeded by two interim directors - Andrew Bunyan and Matt Dunkley - ahead of the appointment of Ms Tough.