Leeds City Council is today announcing the retirement of Nigel Richardson after six years as the council’s director of children’s services. Nigel will step down as director at the end of September.
He has a long career working for 34 years in and around the public sector and his retirement is marked by tributes from the council’s senior leadership.
Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council said:
“Nigel has worked extremely hard over the last six years to fulfil our ambition to make Leeds the best city for children to grow up in and has led the city’s children’s services on a massive improvement journey. He now feels it is the most opportune time to pass the baton on to a new director who can continue the amazing progress already made.
“Nigel has really put Leeds children’s services on the map both nationally and internationally with Leeds being the only ‘core city’ to be rated as good with outstanding leadership by Ofsted. Under Nigel’s leadership Leeds has been named as ‘exemplar’ by the DfE and has been called upon to assist other authorities as part of the government’s improvement framework.
“It is also under his leadership that children’s services in Leeds have undertaken a massive transformation and we are extremely grateful for Nigel’s hard work and dedication, as well as his professionalism at all times.”
Councillor Lisa Mulherin, executive member for children and families said:
“Over the past six years Nigel has been an inspirational and respected leader who has united all sorts of organisations in Leeds around our ambition to be a Child Friendly city, an initiative which is now supported by over 500 individuals, organisations and agencies.
“His unwavering dedication to ensure the voices of children, young people and families are integral to not only the council’s work, but also that of partner organisations like the NHS, has been a major achievement in his time here. Nigel has instilled a whole new culture, not only within children’s services but also across the council, creating a real focus on doing things ‘with’ and not ‘for’ or ‘to’ children and families. Drawing on these beliefs he has helped create the conditions for whole-system change, an approach that puts children and young people at the heart of the growth strategy for the city.
“Nigel will be greatly missed across the council and I wish him a relaxing and rewarding retirement.”
Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council said:
“I wish to thank Nigel for the commitment and professionalism he has shown throughout his time with us and I’m sure I speak for all the staff in children’s services and across the council and beyond to wish him all the best with his future plans.
“We are very confident that as a leadership team we can continue the excellent progress already made over the past seven years. We already have strong foundations on which to continue to build. We have a whole team of dedicated staff across all children’s services functions, including some great leaders in education and social care who we know will continue to put children at their heart of everything they do.
“Although he is stepping down, we are delighted that Nigel has agreed to continue to support our work by representing Leeds in an externally facing, non-executive capacity, with no additional remuneration. This will help to ensure the Child Friendly Leeds legacy is promoted around the country through improvement work in other councils.
“Interim measures will be put in place to keep the service moving forward and continue the progress already made under Nigel’s leadership, with recruitment for a permanent replacement to begin in due course.”