Surrey County Council (SCC) has appointed Rachael Wardell as its new Executive Director of Children, Families and Lifelong Learning.
She takes up the post in early December, joining from her current role as Director of Children, Schools and Families for the London Borough of Merton.
Previously Rachael spent five years as Director of Children’s Services and Director of Adult Social Services at West Berkshire Council, and also held posts at Wokingham Borough Council and Ofsted.
SCC Chief Executive Joanna Killian said: “Rachael is committed to continuing the vision the Council has set and will build on the excellent work of everyone in the Directorate to transform our services for children and families. This role is a pivotal one at the council, and essential to our external partnerships, and we are confident that Rachael will provide the leadership, focus and passion in pursuit of our improvement journey.”
Rachael’s appointment follows the sudden death of the council’s previous Executive Director Dave Hill in June.
Joanna Killian added: “It has never been more important to focus on the happiness and wellbeing of our young people and I am confident that under Rachael’s leadership we will be able to do that. Dave left an enormous legacy, but I know that Rachael, who knew him well, will take it forward, extolling the importance that he attached to ensuring all our children are loved, cherished and supported to thrive.”
Rachael Wardell said: “To be offered the opportunity of continuing the work Dave started is a huge personal privilege. Like many others, I was inspired by his approach, and I am excited to be part of further improving the wellbeing and opportunities for every child in Surrey.”
SCC Leader Tim Oliver said: “This is a really crucial appointment for us. Rachael is committed to continuing the improvement of our children’s services and working to maximise the opportunities and potential of our young people.”
2018 – present: Director of Children, Schools and Families for the London Borough of Merton
2013 – 18: West Berkshire Council where her role as Communities Corporate Director combined both Director of Children’s Services and Director of Adult Social Services posts
2009 -2013: Wokingham Borough Council, first as Strategic Commissioner: Children Young People and Families, and then as Assistant Director: Early Intervention & Community Support
2002 – 2009: Ofsted, where she was responsible for children’s policy projects in early years and social care
1995-2002: Legal Aid Board / Legal Services Commission