Dave Hill CBE

It is with the greatest of sadness that we must announce the sudden death of our friend and colleague Dave Hill CBE, Executive Director of Children, Lifelong Learning and Culture at Surrey County Council.

Dave joined Surrey in 2018 and was responsible for the rapid and wholescale improvement in Children’s Services in the County.

Surrey County Council Chief Executive, Joanna Killian, said: “Dave was an amazing colleague and great friend.

“At the heart of it he was just a great guy whose passion in life was his family – wife Jo, and daughters Laurel and Lydia whom he adored – and doing the very best he could for vulnerable children.

“My heart goes out to his family and to all his colleagues and staff who I know will be as devastated as I am that we have lost this amazing, talented man.

“His passion for doing the right thing by children and just getting things done shone through and he was the architect of the most brilliant transformation I have ever seen.

“He worked so hard and I know that his inspirational leadership, sheer energy and drive put us in the position we are today, with a service we can be proud of.

“Dave’s passion for justice and fairness also made him the natural choice to sponsor our renewed efforts towards equality, diversity and inclusion at the council. He would not tolerate discrimination of any kind and was determined we would be a better council.”

Leader of Surrey County Council, Tim Oliver, said: “I’m devastated to hear the news and all our thoughts at this time are with Dave’s family – his wife Jo and their two daughters.

“Dave was a tower of a man who was held both in respect and affection by those who worked with him at Surrey and across the whole of children’s services.

“He was thoughtful, inspirational, committed and self-deprecating. He will be irreplaceable.

“Dave will be much missed by all here at Surrey, and we will work tirelessly to ensure his legacy lives on in delivering the very best support for Surrey’s young people.”

Dave Hill CBE 1959-2020 (age 61)

Dave Hill CBE career history

Dave Hill joined Surrey in April 2018, after having spent eight years as Director of Children’s Services at Essex County Council.

Prior to Essex he had served as Director of Children’s Services at Merton from 2005 to 2008 and at Croydon from 2008 to 2010.

His first job was in a Children’s Home in the London Borough of Southwark in 1977 and he trained as a social worker between 1981 and 1983, before working across five different London boroughs.

In 2018 he was awarded a CBE for services to children’s social care.

He was elected the President of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services in 2015-16 and was appointed by the DfE as a commissioner supporting improvement in Norfolk and Birmingham.

Before deciding on a career in children’s services, Dave was a keen actor, having attended drama school in the 1970s and being offered a role in a West End musical later that decade.

There has been an overwhelming wave of positive comments by those who have met or worked with Dave and we will be opening a book of condolences should people wish to express their condolences for Dave and his family.  Please email your name and comments to

We have been asked about donations and we will advise on suggested donations in due course in accordance with Dave’s family’s wishes.


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