STRUGGLING children’s services in Sandwell has appointed Frances Craven to run the newly created children’s trust.

After received back-to-back inadequate Ofsted ratings, Sandwell Council was told last year that the department would be run by an independent trust, despite signs of 'slow improvement'.

Ms Craven, who joins from Leicester City Council where she has worked as strategic director for children’s services, has been appointed as chief executive of Sandwell Children’s Social Care Trust, which aims to make a positive impact on children most in need of protection and care.

During her time in Leicester, she oversaw improvements in the council’s children’s services which moved from an ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating to ‘requires improvement’ with leadership and management being rated ‘good’.

Ms Craven said: “I am very pleased to be joining Sandwell Children’s Trust and feel privileged to be the first chief executive to lead this new organisation. I am looking forward to working with staff and partners.

“This is an exciting opportunity to make a difference for the children, young people and families of Sandwell.”

Her arrival has been welcomed by former Redditch MP Jacqui Smith who was appointed as the trust’s chairman in July.

Ms Smith said: “I’m delighted to welcome Frances Craven as the first chief executive of the Sandwell Children’s Trust. Frances has a proven track record of improving services for vulnerable children and families.

“I am confident that she will provide strong leadership as we launch the Children’s Trust in Sandwell providing a new start for staff and the children we care for.

“I am very much looking forward to working with her on this exciting project.”

Councillor Simon Hackett, Sandwell’s cabinet member for children’s services, added: “I’d like to welcome Frances to Sandwell. Her appointment is great news as it will allow the trust to get off to a flying start.

“We’re not where we need to be yet but, with Francis and Jacqui in place, we’re confident the new trust can carry on our hard work and finish the job of delivering the best social care services for young people in Sandwell.”

Ms Craven will officially start her role in late February 2018.

The trust has also appointed Stephen Rimmer and Linda Sanders as two independent non-executive directors to its board, who will be joined by two non-executive directors from the council Cllr Paul Sandars and Stuart Lackenby.