Meet our directors
Our directors tell you a bit more about their roles in Gloucestershire's Children's Services.
- Andy Dempsey - Director of Partnerships and Strategy
- Wendy Williams - Assistant Director for Integrated Children and Families Commissing
- Chris Spencer - Director of Children’s Services Gloucestershire County Council
- Kirsten Harrison - Director of Education
- Ann James - Director of safeguarding and care
Ann joined the county council as Director for Children’s Safeguarding and Care at the end of January 2022, just as the impact of the corporate, political and workforce commitment to improving outcomes for children, young people and their families, was being evaluated by Her Majesty’s Inspectors.
“I couldn’t have wished for a better time to join, get to know people, see how we operate under pressure and end up with a very clear view as to how our services are delivering and what more we need to do. The commitment I saw from leaders, managers, colleagues, and partners was inspiring and I’m in no doubt that if we continue to focus on delivering our corporate priorities that we’ll continue to make progress and meet our ambitions for children and young people.”
Ann’s background is in the southwest, largely in Bristol. She has worked within Children’s Services and Community Safety for over thirty years holding a number of senior management and leadership roles. Ann started her career as a residential childcare worker, working in a variety of roles before becoming Director. Along the way, she has worked at all levels across children’s services from social work to supported housing, children’s commissioning to corporate parenting.
Ann is motivated by the notion that we can always do better and achieve more for children and young people; that the investment we make today, improves lives now and in the future.
“Can children’s services do that alone? Absolutely not! As the adage goes, “it takes a village to raise a child”.
“We know that to support children and families, we need an amazingly skilled workforce. Our Social Work Academy evidences our commitment to the development of social workers and leaders and we are investing in practice through adoption of systemic practice framework and training with the Centre for Systemic Social Work for all permanent children’s workers.
"We need great HR processes, terms and conditions to attract the best of colleagues, efficient IT and infrastructure, partners who put children at the centre and opportunities to achieve in education and employment.”
“I can’t think of anyone whose role in the council or amongst partners doesn’t in some way contribute to delivering great outcomes, to building resilient families and communities in which children can thrive and go on to live remarkable lives. And that’s why I joined GCC. I want to contribute to the outcomes that are already evident for many children and young people, because I want the best for all… a county that works for all children.”
On a personal level Ann says “I have quite a big appetite for work, so I work hard but I also love music and the arts, politics, good food, walking and being active, so… if I look tired when you see me, you’ll know why!