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Assistant Directors

Integrated Leadership Team

We have recently completed a reorganisation of the responsibilities of the Assistant Director roles within Children’s services. There are three Assistant Directors in Children’s service’s in Peterborough, all have responsibility across Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council.

Alison Bennett Assistant Director, Safeguarding and Quality Assurance

Nicola Curley – Assistant Director Integrated Front Door, Early Help, Assessment and Family Safeguarding

Nicola has management responsibility for the Integrated Front Door, Early Help services, Assessment and Family Safeguarding services to children in need, in need of protection and those in care proceedings across the two authorities.

Nicola qualified as a social worker in 1994 at the University of Edinburgh. She chose social work because she was seeking a challenging and valuable career in an area that played to her strong sense of ethics. Her first role was as a children and families social worker in the London Borough of Hounslow. Nicola worked her way through the ranks in a number of roles in many areas before joining Peterborough City Council as Assistant Director in March 2015 where she implemented the trailblazing Family Safeguarding model in 2017.

Nicola encourages those seeking a dynamic and fulfilling challenge to join her team in Peterborough. She knows that there is a lot to be gained from working within a People and Communities Directorate, where all resources are grouped together. To Nicola, the ethnic, linguistic and religious diversity in Peterborough provides a rich cultural learning experience for social workers, and the council offers excellent support for people to develop their career and skills. From a personal perspective, Nicola values the support she receives from the committed political and corporate leadership in the Council, and the culture where all areas work together to achieve success for the people of Peterborough. The size of the City enables an environment that is creative and flexible as well as solution focused. But Nicola is particularly rewarded when the impact of system and practice changes are seen almost immediately, with an obvious improvement to outcomes for children. Most of all, she values how special it feels when the team gets it right.

Sarah-Jane Smedmor – Assistant Director, Corporate Parenting and Specialist Services

Sarah-Jane qualified as a social worker from Suffolk University in 1999 and has worked for local authorities ever since. Sarah-Jane’s career started in Children’s residential homes which gave her real insight into caring for our most vulnerable children at times of huge uncertainty and transition. This strengthened her drive to ensure the best outcomes for children in care, which is underpinned by Peterborough’s recruitment drive for local foster carers.

Sarah-Jane has practised in most teams who support the children’s journey through social care services. She was inspired to move into management by many of her own managers and has held a number of roles which have enabled her to lead on the development and delivery of services, improving outcomes for children and creating opportunities for her staff.

Sarah-Jane feels that it has been a privilege to work for Cambridgeshire County Council since 2013 and is delighted to now also have responsibility across Peterborough. During this time she has led two large transformations of the service.

Peterborough champions great social work and through its dedicated and committed teams, delivers high quality support and service to children and their families. Practising as a social worker in the same building as all of the teams for City and alongside other directorates and youth services leads to great relationship based practice- a real sense of team

Sarah-Jane strives to lead a social work service where Social Workers feel valued, nurtured and empowered to make such important decisions for our children on a daily basis. She feels it is her responsibility to ensure they are not laden down with unnecessary bureaucracy and duplication of tasks so they can spend time building relationships with children. Sarah-Jane’s services always have an eye on the permanency plan for the child, whatever this maybe and this drives them to ensure children are as close to their families and local networks as possible. To achieve this Sarah-Jane works with the teams, partners and members to uphold Peterborough’s corporate parenting responsibilities holding each child at the heart of all they do.  

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