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Update from Jo Olsson on Head of Children’s Social Care

The following is an update from Jo Olsson, Devon County Council’s Chief Officer for Children’s Services and Chair of the Devon SCP Executive Group. 

Dear colleagues,

Many of you have been asking ‘Whats happening with Darryl?’ I am so sorry that I haven’t been able to share anything with you since mid-August, when he was due back.

Below is a message that Darryl has asked me to share with you. I know that you will be sad to read it. The inspection outcome and COVID-19 have been enormous challenges that we have had to face with fortitude and determination. This challenge, of change at the top, is one we will have to manage with the same kind of fortitude and determination. I will talk more next week about what next, for now lets just hear Darryl’s message – which you can read below.

With very best wishes,
Jo Olsson
Chief Officer for Children’s Services (Devon County Council)
Chair of the Devon SCP Executive Group

Dear colleagues,

It is with a sense of real sadness and a heavy heart that I send this, my final message, to let you know that I am leaving my post as Head of Service with immediate effect.

I’ve seen some of the posts on Yammer where colleagues have expressed concern and I want you to know I’m feeling better (physically and mentally) than I have done for years. I want you to know too that I really appreciated and valued the support that you showed me earlier in the year when I was unwell and I urge you to always show your compassion and kindness to your colleagues and to those that we support and protect in our communities.

It’s been an absolute privilege to have been your Head of Service and to have worked with so many passionate and committed colleagues who have worked tirelessly for children and young people in Devon, never more so than in this most unusual and challenging of years. After a very disappointing start to 2020 though it is time for new leadership in the service and for me to hand over the baton.

Devon is an amazing place to live and to work and I’m going to look back on my time here with fondness, and pride in you and what you can achieve. I’m sorry that in these COVID times it isn’t possible or appropriate to meet up and say our goodbyes but I want to thank you for your hard work, commitment, and your support, and to wish each of you and my successor the very best of wishes for the future.

Darryl Freeman
Head of Children’s Social Care (Devon County Council)