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"I felt an immediate affinity with the area": Council appoints new Children's Services Director

29 November 2023
An image of new Director of Children's Services, Alison Sutherland, next to the Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council logo

An image of new Director of Children's Services, Alison Sutherland, next to the Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council logo

Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council has secured a "major coup" after appointing a new Director of Children's Services to lead a programme of transformational change in the service area.

Alison Sutherland will bring a wealth of experience spanning two decades when she joins the Council early next year from her current secondment with Scottish Government.

The former school head-teacher was also previously Head of Children, Family and Justice Services at North Ayrshire Council and her time there included a period as Interim Chief Officer.

From North Ayrshire Council, Alison moved on to her current national secondment as Head of Support for the Promise Scotland initiative, which looks at improving outcomes for all children, young people and their families.

Alison's new role will see her oversee children's help and support services, children's social care, education and special educational needs and inclusion.

Alison said: "I wasn't actually looking for another job, but when I saw the role I felt an immediate affinity with the area and thought to myself immediately 'I want to work here'.

"I can see already that the Council aligns with my own personal values with hugely ambitious staff - and the Borough appealed to me as a lovely place to live and work.

"My main aims for the role are I want the Borough to be outstanding and excellent in every sense of the word. I recognise that some areas do require improvement and I will bring a relentless focus to bring excellent practice to drive improvement.

"I also want to make sure families get the right support, particularly those most disadvantaged, to make sure children get the best start in life.

"It was really interesting to meet with members of Bright Minds Big Futures at my interview and I'm looking forward to learning more and building relationships with a range of different partners."

Councillor Lisa Evans, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: "Alison's appointment is very exciting and a major coup to be able to bring in someone with such vast experience across a range of different roles.

"There's of course lots of work ahead as we adapt to rising costs and demand, but with her proven track record of strong leadership and decision-making, Alison is the ideal candidate to lead the directorate.

"We now look forward to Alison getting started in the New Year and welcoming her to our Borough, which is of course such a brilliant place to live and work."