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Durham’s director of children’s services takes Association of Directors of Children’s Services presidency

Durham’s director of children’s services John Pearce has taken over as president of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services

Having previously led both children and adult social services at South Tyneside Council and has held the role of acting director for children, families and wellbeing at Trafford Council, Pearce has led children’s services in Durham since September 2019.

In his opening blog, Pearce commented that he would continue the work of the previous president in championing children’s mental health as a key focus.

He said ‘The impact on children and young people on a system that is overwhelmed and no longer fit for purpose has been highlighted over the last 12 months and it’s now essential we continue to push for a full national review of services. There has also been significant change in the health system with the introduction of Integrated Care Systems and there is a risk that this structural change further moves the focus away from ‘place’, disadvantaging community health provision for children. There must be a better way and it may be time for us as DCSs to be given the levers to effectively lead place-based integrated services.’

He also pledged to prioritise inequality in all its forms in view of the ‘direct impact poverty has on children’s lives and the inequality that it creates in education, care and health.’

Finally, Pearce singled out the workforce as being a third priority area during his tenure.

He said ‘Our workforce does amazing things often in extremely difficult circumstances and we all have a responsibility to create an environment in which they can thrive. To achieve that the national intervention proposed by DfE is essential but we all also need to create the conditions for high quality practice at a local level so our staff can continue to make a difference in children’s lives.’

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Published on 11th April 2023