Meet the man tasked with turning around our shambolic children’s services

David Johnston
David Johnston

The failing children’s services department at Bucks County Council has a new leader – and he is ready to make the ‘required improvements’.

David Johnston succeeds Sue Imbriano who retired in September and takes on the new title of managing director for children’s social care and learning.

He took office today along with new portfolio holder for children’s services, Lin Hazell, who returns to the department she led from 2005 until 2011.

In August, a damning Ofsted report found the council was putting children in Bucks at risk of harm.

Mr Johnston said: “I recognise a strong commitment and a lot of good work going on by hard working and passionately committed staff across the council to improve the outcomes and life chances for all their residents, in particular children, young people and their families.

“I look forward to leading the social care and learning service through this time of change, working closely in partnership with councillors, colleagues, schools and wider partners to continue Buckinghamshire’s journey of improvement.

“Between us, we can achieve the required improvements to services especially for the most vulnerable children, young people and their families.”

Mr Johnston worked in children’s social care services for several years before progressing to more senior and management positions.

He then worked as a social services inspector for five years before returning to local authority management in 2002.

Council leader Martin Tett said: “There are many challenges ahead but I am confident that David will help us to continue to deliver in what is one of the county council’s top priority areas.”

Mike Appleyard, lead cabinet member for children’s services, said: “I’m delighted David has been appointed to the role. We’re very confident he is the right person to take on this challenging yet highly rewarding position and I look forward to working with him.”

Trevor Boyd, who was acting as interim director of children and young people since Mrs Imbriano’s exit, will now resume his position as managing director for adults, health and communities.