Penny Thompson CBE has been appointed as the new independent chair of the Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board.
She takes over the post from Jane Held, whose four-year term ended in March. Mark Rogers, Chief Executive of Birmingham City Council, thanked Jane for all that she had done in Birmingham since 2012, praising her “highly pragmatic and collaborative approach”.
Mark added: “Bringing key agencies across local government, health, the police and others to work together in such a sensitive and important area as safeguarding and promoting the wellbeing of our children and young people takes considerable skills and Jane has led this work in Birmingham with great care, calm and consideration.”
Penny Thompson has had a long career in public service, starting out as a social worker in the 1970s and rising to Executive Director of Social Services at Sheffield City Council. She left in 2004, after six years, having led the service successfully out of ‘special measures’.
Most recently, Penny was Chief Executive of Brighton & Hove City Council, stepping down in the summer of 2015.
Previously, Penny was Chief Executive for the London Borough of Hackney, NHS Haringey and the now closed social work regulatory body, the General Social Care Council.
Penny said: “I have always enjoyed a challenge, and the opportunity of a leadership role convening partners to enable Birmingham to be a fantastic place for children and families to thrive is an honour.
“I have enjoyed an extensive career in a number of different towns and cities, though never in the West Midlands, so the opportunity to work in Birmingham, the biggest and most diverse city in the country, was one I couldn’t turn down.”
Claire Bell, Head of the Public Protection Unit, West Midlands Police, said: “West Midlands Police are delighted to welcome Penny to Birmingham and the important role as independent chair of the Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board. I’d like to thank Jane (Held) for her tireless efforts to ensure the board is in the strongest possible position to face the challenges of the future. I very much look forward to working with Penny to realise the strong ambition of partners in Birmingham to improve the outcomes for children in the city.”
Dr Diane Reeves, Chief Accountable Officer, Birmingham South Central Clinical Commissioning Group, NHS, said: “On behalf of the health organisations in Birmingham, I am delighted to be able to welcome Penny as the new independent chair of the Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board. Penny has been clear about the importance of a culture of effective, purposeful partnership working in improving the wellbeing of children and young people and aspiring to outstanding practice. I believe that is the right approach for us in Birmingham.”
Note to editors:
The Birmingham Safeguarding Children Board is responsible for co-ordinating how agencies work effectively together to safeguard and promote the wellbeing of children and young people in Birmingham. A wide range of statutory agencies are represented at the highest level on the board.