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Meet the Leadership Team

The Children’s Services Directorate is made up of four main service areas:

  • Learning Skills and Universal Services
  • Safeguarding, Specialist and Targeted Services
  • Strategy, Commissioning and Performance
  • Partnership Development and Business Support

A leadership structure chart can be found in the Downloads section of the website.

Here is some information about the team, their career journeys so far and their key priorities for Leeds. And of course it always helps to put a name to a face.

Nigel Richardson - Director of Children’s Services

Nigel chose to be photographed with pupils at Little London Primary, one of our vibrant city centre schools.

Nigel joined Leeds as director of children’s services at the end of September 2010.  Before then Nigel was director for children’s services in Hull where he helped the city achieve its position as the world’s first Restorative City.

Nigel’s career in public service began over 30 years ago working with young offenders. Since then he has held a wide variety of roles across a number of social care and local government settings. He has also held a range of key leadership roles including director of social services and director of social and housing service.

Nigel has been invited to advise on national policy and practice development in England and Wales and he spent 18 months working with Lord Laming on the Victoria Climbie inquiry.

Nigel is married with four sons aged 15–22 who keep him on his toes!  In his current leadership role he has set out his ambition for Leeds to become a Child Friendly City using restorative approaches to make a positive difference to the lives of over 180,000 children and young people.

Paul Brennan - Deputy Director, Learning Skills and Universal Services

Paul chose to be photographed at Leeds Art Museum in front a favourite piece of artwork.

Paul Brennan has had a wide ranging and varied career including director of children’s services in Calderdale, an Ofsted inspector, a council chief inspector and adviser, director of skills and adult education, a senior examiner and a gallery educator! Paul has taught in inner city secondary schools and adult education in Salford. He is passionate about the arts, design and creativity and has a reputation for driving effective leadership of school improvement in the most challenging circumstances. Paul has also undertaken research into raising boys’ achievement.

Paul now has the lead responsibility for learning, skills and universal services and is focusing on improving learning outcomes for children and young people by developing new relationships between the Local Authority and schools.

Steve Walker – Deputy Director, Safeguarding, Specialist and Targeted Services

Steve chose to be photographed next to artwork produced for Children’s Services by pupils from Lower Wortley primary school.

Steve Walker qualified as a social worker in 1984 and worked as a social worker and front line manager for over ten years before becoming a Principal Manager. In addition to his experience as a senior manager for Children’s Services, Steve was a Research Fellow at Royal Holloway College, University of London where he developed a range of materials to support social work practice. He was an inspector with the Care and Social Services Inspectorate for Wales and has been involved in developing and implementing policy to deliver better outcomes for children.

Prior to joining Leeds City Council Steve was the head of child and family services for the city and county of Swansea.
As Deputy Director for Safeguarding, Specialist and Targeted Services Steve’s team’s bring together children’s social work, services for children with complex needs as well as targeted family support services to ensure that provision is coordinated around the child and family.

Steve’s career is underpinned by a commitment to service improvement and the delivery of positive outcomes for children.

Sarah Sinclair - Chief Officer, Strategy, Commissioning and Performance

Sarah chose to be photographed in Queen’s Square, one of the city centre’s green patches and a pleasant spot to catch up with emails.

Sarah Sinclair commenced her Chief Officer role for Leeds City Councils Children's Services in July 2011, picking up responsibility for strategy, school organisation and built environment, performance management and commissioning.  Prior to this she was Deputy Director of Children’s Services, a jointly appointed role with the then Leeds Primary Care Trust.

Sarah started her career as a registered nurse and health visitor in Liverpool, taking on a number of clinical and managerial roles prior to being appointed as Director of Nursing and Operations in a PCT in 2002, then Director of Commissioning for Children's and Maternity Services.

Sarah has two daughters and a menagerie of animals which keep her occupied, along with a passion for the outdoor and extreme gardening.

Sue Rumbold – Chief Officer, Partnership Development and Business Support

Sue chose to be photographed at Leeds Museum alongside a banner promoting Leeds’ vision for a Child Friendly City.

Sue Rumbold qualified as a physiotherapist and has worked for most of her career with disabled children and their families in a range of settings including homes, schools, children’s centres and clinics. This provided a real insight into the challenges faced by families in the most difficult of circumstances, which continues to be a point of reference throughout Sue’s work.

Sue has experience of commissioning and managing children’s health services working within a PCT. She came into local government after working as the health lead on a joint area review, as Head of Commissioning and Partnerships. Sue  also trained as a health inspector for a joint area review in another authority.

Sue is passionate about the involvement of children and young people in decisions which affect their lives, in her role as Chief Officer of Partnership Development and Business Support, Sue leads on delivering ‘Child Friendly Leeds’, a campaign to make Leeds the best city in the UK for children and young people to be born, to grow, learn and have fun.

Sue has an open leadership style, committed to the values of working with people, ensuring that children and families are at the heart of everything we do.  Sue is married with a daughter and loves watercolour painting.

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