New director appointed to run children's services in Sunderland

Jill Colbert, who is to take up the posts of Director of Children's Services at Sunderland City Council and Chief Executive of Together for Children.
Jill Colbert, who is to take up the posts of Director of Children's Services at Sunderland City Council and Chief Executive of Together for Children.

A new director has been appointed to oversee the running of children's services in Sunderland.

Sunderland City Council has announced that Jill Colbert is the new chief executive of Together for Children.

She joins the council from Trafford Council where she is currently Corporate Director for Children, Families and Well-being.

She started her career at Birmingham Council, working with children and young people in youth justice services, then moved to Birmingham Community Health Trust and to The Children’s Society.

She subsequently worked for Knowsley and Trafford Councils in the North West in a series of managerial roles, commissioning and leading children’s services and since 2016 has held the post of Corporate Director (Children Families and Wellbeing) at Trafford Council.

In her new role, Jill will lead Together for Children, the company which was launched last April to deliver children's services in Sunderland on behalf of the city council.

She will also take on the statutory role of Director of Children’s Services for the council.

Together for Children is responsible for delivering children's social care, early help, education and fostering and adoption, as well as the infrastructure needed to run fully integrated children's services.

Irene Lucas CBE, chief executive of Sunderland City Council, said of Jill's appointment: "I'm delighted Jill is joining us.

"She has an excellent track record in this area of work and I'm very much looking forward to working with her as we continue to steer forward the high quality services that our children and young people need to live safe, happy, healthy and successful lives."

Deborah Jenkins, chairman of the Together for Children, added: "I'm very excited that Jill will be joining TfC and very much look forward to welcoming her into our team.

"She brings a wealth of experience of partnership working to build on the strong foundations of our first year under Sue Carty’s leadership."

Speaking about her new role, Jill, who went to school in Whitley Bay, before studying Sociology at Birmingham University and also an MBA, said: "I am delighted and excited to be joining Together for Children and look forward to working closely with partners to deliver great outcomes for children and families across the city of Sunderland."

She is expected to take up her new post this summer.