Norfolk children's services gets new director Sheila Lock

Sheila Lock Sheila Lock takes over as Norfolk's interim director of children's services

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A new head has taken over Norfolk's "troubled" children's services which were criticised by Ofsted and MPs.

Sheila Lock, 53, currently working temporarily in Cardiff after being made redundant by Leicester City Council, will move to the county immediately.

Previous children's services director Lisa Christensen retires on 18 July.

Conservative opposition leader Bill Borrett said his party was glad a quick decision had been made but was surprised it had not been consulted.

Ms Lock will take on an interim role until a permanent appointment is made.

'Acted quickly'

Ms Christensen revealed she was stepping down following Ofsted reports criticising school performances and the protection of children.

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council, run by an alliance of Labour, Liberal Democrats and UKIP, said: "Ms Lock's principal focus will be helping ensure the service delivers significant improvements in the wake of Ofsted's recent criticism of the council's safeguarding services and its arrangements for supporting schools.

"She has successful experience of turning round poor performance elsewhere.

"During her time at Leicester Ms Lock led the authority out of a notice to improve and steered it from the bottom quartile of the education performance tables."

James Joyce, cabinet member for safeguarding, said: "We acted quickly and purposefully to bring in a respected and experienced interim director to lead children's services to help deliver rapid and significant improvement."

Mr Borrett said: "We're pleased someone has been appointed so quickly and will give her any support we can.

"We are also surprised we were not consulted in any way."

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