19 May 2016

The director of Northamptonshire’s children services Alex Hopkins has been appointed as the chief executive of a new children’s services organisation in Sunderland. Current director at Leicestershire County Council Lesley Hagger has been announced as his replacement in the county.

Alex has been at the council for eight years and during that time has led the council’s policy and community services directorates before latterly leading on the compete transformation of children’s services which earlier this month was found by Ofsted to have improved across all areas.

High calibre replacement

Because of the importance the council places in continuing its improvement for children’s services it has immediately been in discussion with government figures to find a high calibre replacement and is delighted to also announce the appointment of Lesley from Leicestershire as Alex’s successor.

Chief executive Paul Blantern said: “In Alex we are losing a hugely talented individual with a strong and self evident track record in delivering profound improvement in children’s services. It is precisely because of his talent that we have had to find the very best individual to replace him.

“I have been speaking with key figures on our independent improvement board to find the right person and we are delighted that Lesley is joining us and have every confidence that she will continue our excellent work in this area.”

Leader of the council Cllr Heather Smith said: “It is clearly with a very heavy heart that we have to say goodbye to Alex. He has been central and instrumental in the complete transformation of children’s services in our county. It is these achievements here in Northamptonshire which have clearly been noticed nationally by others wishing to employ his expertise and experience in improving these services.

“While professionally we are very sad to see Alex leave we are delighted for him on a personal level. For personal reasons Alex had been keen to move to the North East and this appointment allows him to do that while at the same time take the next steps in his already hugely successful career.”

'Next step'

Lesley said: “As a resident of Northamptonshire for the past 35 years I am really looking forward to serving my local community once again. I did my youth work training with Northamptonshire County Council during the early 1980s and am really looking forward to leading the next step of the children’s services journey.” The new director of Northamptonshire’s children services Lesley Hagger

Alex said: “I have really enjoyed my time in Northamptonshire and will be sad to leave this fantastic county. I have had the privilege of working with some exceptional people in my time here and I would like to thank them all for everything they have done to improve the lives of children and families in Northamptonshire.

“I will miss so many people who have helped transform services in the county but I know they will continue to show that drive and determination to accept only the best for our children. I also want to say a big thank you to that whole family of people who I’ve had the pleasure to work with – council staff, partners, adopters, foster carers, colleagues in schools and settings and, most importantly, children, young people and their families.”