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Who we are

Chair - Sandwell Children's Trust

Rt Hon Jacqui Smith

Chair - Sandwell Children's Trust

Rt Hon Jacqui Smith is Chair of Sandwell Children’s Trust bringing her experience of operating at the highest levels of policy development and leadership in the public sector over many years.

Following a teaching career, she was elected MP for Redditch between 1997 and 2010 and served as a Minister for ten years in the Education, Health, Industry and Equality portfolios and in the Cabinet as Chief Whip and the UK’s first woman Home Secretary.
She is also Chair of University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust; a Trustee of the Kings Fund and Chair of the Precious Trust and the Lunar Society.

She works in Jordan and Egypt on political development projects and is a frequent media commentator on Sky, BBC and through her weekly podcast with LBC.

Independent Non-Executive Director

Stephen Rimmer

Independent Non-Executive Director

Stephen has been Director of Impact & Learning at Barnardo's since August 2016, with responsibility for key components of our 10 year strategy, including Diversity, Learning and ensuring strategic impact in tackling our biggest priorities: Child Sexual Abuse, Children In and Leaving Care, and Mental Health and WellBeing.

Before then, Stephen had a number of roles in Whitehall - culminating as Director General for Crime & Policing at the Home Office for 5 years until 2013 - but always got more satisfaction from leadership roles closer to the "real world": as the Governor of Gartree and Wandsworth prisons; on the executive Board of the Metropolitan Police; and in working across the West Midlands local authorities, police and partner agencies to bring focus and coherence to their work in Preventing Violence against Vulnerable People. Helping to make a real difference to vulnerable children and communities - and making life as difficult as possible for those who seek to do them harm - is what really fires him up.

Stephen was awarded a CBE in 2013 and has been a Non-Executive Director of Sandwell Children’s Trust since 2017.

Independent Non-Executive Director

Vineeta Manchanda

Independent Non-Executive Director

Vineeta is an experienced public/voluntary sector Non-Executive Director with a track record of delivering customer focused sustainable transformation while holding Profit &Loss responsibility. She brings strong financial management skills from her 25 years’ experience in the finance sector including blue-chip global firms such as Merrill Lynch, Credit Lyonnais County NatWest Investment Management to niche start-up emerging market investment banks.

Independent Non-Executive Director

Linda Sanders

Independent Non-Executive Director

Linda has worked in local government for some 40 years , qualifying as a social worker (CQSW / MA applied social studies ) at Warwick University in 1981.

Following being a practitioner and manager spanning Children’s and adults services she held statutory Strategic / Corporate Director roles in the West Midlands & London , across Children’s, Adults , Housing and various community services for close to fifteen years.
Her most recent post (Jan 2015 to August 2017 )was Strategic Director People for the City of Wolverhampton where the service achieved a Good Ofsted Children’s Services inspection outcome in early 2017 as well as MJ Council of the year & Senior Leadership team of the year.
Her portfolio now involves chairing a safeguarding children’s and adults board and 2 Non Exec Director roles.

She is passionate about the role of high quality social work to help change lives and is looking forward to contributing to the future success of The Sandwell Children’s Trust in transforming & improving the lives of children and families .

Council Non-Executive Director

Neil Cox

Council Non-Executive Director

Neil has worked in Sandwell for the last 20 years in a variety of different roles at all levels of the local in authority, ranging from Housing and Welfare Rights to Adult Social Care

In 2016 he spent time working in the private sector providing consultancy support to a number of large NHS Trusts and Clinical Commissioning Groups to develop and implement their transformation and budget efficiency programmes.

He later returned to work for the local authority to take a lead role for Adult Social Care on strategic improvement, performance management and overseeing the delivery of the directorates transformation programme.

More recently he was the service manager of the authority’s Regulatory Services team before being appointed to the position of interim Director for Prevention & Protection in September 2019.

Neil has a passion for delivering excellent services for the residents of the borough where his family are from as well as protecting vulnerable people and supporting their voices to be heard.

Council Non-Executive Director

Cllr Peter Allen

Council Non-Executive Director

I have been a Labour councillor for 16 years in Great Bridge Tipton. I am currently the chairman of the licencing committee for Sandwell. I’m a member of the planning committee and the audit committee. I am also a director of Sandwell Land and Property company that effectively owns all of the school land in Sandwell.

I have been a community activist since 1972 and for the last 23 years I have been the manager / chairman of St Paul’s community centre in Tipton. I am also a Director of Tipton Community Association who are based at Brook Street, Tipton.

I have worked in a number of local government roles and I have also worked for the Civil Service. I also worked for the Training Enterprise Council supporting young people with apprenticeships and training schemes. I worked for Birmingham City Council supporting Children’s Services in a specialist role regarding system development.

I have a passion for community work and have lived in Sandwell for 70 years, so I know the area very well.

Chief Executive and Company Director

Emma Taylor

Chief Executive and Company Director

Emma Taylor is an experienced leader with a proven track record of delivering good and outstanding Children’s Services. As a qualified social worker and natural collaborator with a relentless focus on improving outcomes, Emma has nurtured meaningful partnerships on a local, regional and national level.

Emma has managed a range of services across a number of different local authorities and brings this extensive experience to Sandwell.

Director of Operations and Company Director

Steven Gauntley

Director of Operations and Company Director

Steven has a wide range of social work and management experience within local authorities and the voluntary sector.

Steven has previously worked for Ofsted as Her Majesty’s Social Care Inspector, since leaving Ofsted Steven has utilised this experience and worked with several local authorities leading on performance management initiatives driving organisational development, service improvement and change.

Previously Steven has been responsible for children and family social work teams in senior positions and has also worked for a national children’s charity. His experience includes child-protection and safeguarding, intervention and prevention and looked after children.

This is a pivotal time for Sandwell, I’m looking forward to working together to improve services and deliver good outcomes for children and young people.

Director of Resources and Company Secretary

Tara Malik

Director of Resources and Company Secretary

With over 20 years’ experience of delivering change in the public and voluntary sector, Tara is an innovative and dynamic leader. Passionate about making a difference, she has led high performing teams across a range of disciplines.

As Director of Resources, Tara is committed to improving the lives of children and young people in Sandwell. Through effective collaboration and partnership, Tara will build an environment where the child comes first and excellent social work can flourish.

Director of Quality & Performance

Carol Singleton

Director of Quality & Performance

Carol has worked in local government children’s services for the last 38 years. She qualified as a Social Worker from Plymouth University in 1994, and holds a BA (hons) in Social Work (1995). She has worked, managed and held senior management positions in a wide range of operational children’s services including a residential unit. For the last 5 years Carol has undertaken senior manager roles within quality assurance and performance, including the role of Head of Safeguarding and Principal Social Worker.
Carol is passionate about social work and is proud to be a Social Worker. She believes that being child focussed, and interventions being based on relationship based, strengths based practice, and being trauma informed, makes a tangible difference to children’s lives. She has been instrumental in developing the SCT Practice Framework, and ensuring that the Trust has a Quality Assurance and Performance Framework that helps and supports practice.
Carol brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and skills to the role of Interim Director for Quality Assurance and Performance, and believes that strong collaboration and partnership within the Trust and with external partners will enable the Trust to grow and continue on its journey to providing good services to children.

Chief Executive

Emma Taylor

Chief Executive

Emma Taylor is an experienced leader with a proven track record of delivering good and outstanding Children’s Services. As a qualified social worker and natural collaborator with a relentless focus on improving outcomes, Emma has nurtured meaningful partnerships on a local, regional and national level.

Emma has managed a range of services across a number of different local authorities and brings this extensive experience to Sandwell.

Director of Operations

Steven Gauntley

Director of Operations

Steven has a wide range of social work and management experience within local authorities and the voluntary sector.

Steven has previously worked for Ofsted as Her Majesty’s Social Care Inspector, since leaving Ofsted Steven has utilised this experience and worked with several local authorities leading on performance management initiatives driving organisational development, service improvement and change.

Previously Steven has been responsible for children and family social work teams in senior positions and has also worked for a national children’s charity. His experience includes child-protection and safeguarding, intervention and prevention and looked after children.

This is a pivotal time for Sandwell, I’m looking forward to working together to improve services and deliver good outcomes for children and young people.

Director of Resources

Tara Malik

Director of Resources

With over 20 years’ experience of delivering change in the public and voluntary sector, Tara is an innovative and dynamic leader. Passionate about making a difference, she has led high performing teams across a range of disciplines.

As Director of Resources, Tara is committed to improving the lives of children and young people in Sandwell. Through effective collaboration and partnership, Tara will build an environment where the child comes first and excellent social work can flourish.

Director of Quality & Performance

Carol Singleton

Director of Quality & Performance

Carol has worked in local government children’s services for the last 38 years. She qualified as a Social Worker from Plymouth University in 1994, and holds a BA (hons) in Social Work (1995). She has worked, managed and held senior management positions in a wide range of operational children’s services including a residential unit. For the last 5 years Carol has undertaken senior manager roles within quality assurance and performance, including the role of Head of Safeguarding and Principal Social Worker.
Carol is passionate about social work and is proud to be a Social Worker. She believes that being child focussed, and interventions being based on relationship based, strengths based practice, and being trauma informed, makes a tangible difference to children’s lives. She has been instrumental in developing the SCT Practice Framework, and ensuring that the Trust has a Quality Assurance and Performance Framework that helps and supports practice.
Carol brings a wealth of experience, knowledge and skills to the role of Interim Director for Quality Assurance and Performance, and believes that strong collaboration and partnership within the Trust and with external partners will enable the Trust to grow and continue on its journey to providing good services to children.

Meet our partners

Safer Sandwell Partnership

Sandwell Health and Wellbeing Board

Sandwell Safeguarding Adults Board

Sandwell Council

Just Youth