Pendry named by Town Hall as new children’s social care chief

Nick Pendry has been named as the council’s new director for early help and children’s social care, due to take up his post in the troubled children’s services department in January.

New job: Nick Pendry

Pendry will report to Robert Henderson, who last month was appointed as the council’s executive director for children, families and education and is due to start at his new job later this month.

As a director-level council appointment, Pendry is likely to be on a salary package worth at least £90,000 per year.

Pendry’s appointent is just the latest step in putting together the pieces after the fall-out of the Ofsted inspection of Croydon’s children’s services department carried out in the summer of 2017.

Henderson is replacing Eleni Ioannides, the social services trouble-shooter who was an interim appointment in June this year, following the somewhat hurried departure of previous exec director, £170,000 per year Barbara Peacock.

Pendry replaces Philip Segurola, who has been in his post since September 2017. He took over when the department was in meltdown following the Oftsed inspectors found Croydon’s children’s services to be “inadequate”.

Segurola arrived when Ian Lewis, the borough’s director of early help and children’s social care, and Sarah Baker, chair of the Croydon Safeguarding Children Board, stepped down following publication of the “damning” Ofsted report that said that there was “weak managerial oversight at all levels”.

Senior sources in Katharine Street suggest that Segurola could be a big loss to the council as it endeavours to drag its dysfunctional children’s services department out of the mire caused by years of disinvestment and mismanagement.

“Philip has been a calm, experienced figure at the centre of the on-going storm,” the source said today, “who has been reliable and dependable for his sound judgement in a dire situation. He will be missed.

Good judgement: Philip Segurola

“He only ever came to Croydon on a temporary contract, and he has already extended his stay. Given the latest Ofsted update report, which states that one of the problems in the children’s services department has been the constant churn of senior staff, it is a pity that he has not been persuaded to stay permanently.”

Pendry arrives having been working across three local authorities. He is head of service for social work with families in Westminster, and clinical director for Westminster, Hammersmith and Fulham, and Kensington and Chelsea.

Prior to this he was a children’s services leader for Hackney and Kensington and Chelsea.

According to Croydon Council today, “He has more than 20 years’ experience across a range of roles in children and families social care.”

Alisa Flemming, the council cabinet member for children, families and learning who has presided over the shambles of the past 18 months, said: “I’m delighted to announce Nick’s appointment. With a strong track record in leading change in children’s social care, he has the expertise and experience to take the reins and lead our service through its improvement journey. I look forward to working with him for the benefit of all our children and families.

“I want to take this opportunity to thank Phillip and Eleni for their hard work and commitment over the last year. We have come a long way since last September and they have been instrumental in achieving this. We wish them both all the best for the future.”

Read more on what Flemming calls “the improvement journey”:

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