Reading Borough Council & Brighter Futures for Children press release

Reading Borough Council (RBC) and Brighter Futures for Children (BFfC) are delighted to announce the appointment of Lara Patel as the new, permanent Director of Children’s Services (DCS) for Reading.

Lara, who has more than 25 years’ experience working across local authority and voluntary sector children’s services, joins us from her current role as Deputy Director of Children’s Services for Oxfordshire County Council.

Lara will spend 20% of her time with her primary employer – Reading Borough Council – and 80% with Brighter Futures for Children – the children’s service alternative delivery model company, owned by RBC but independent of it. She will sit on the senior leadership teams of both and will also be an executive member of the BFfC Board.

The DCS role is a statutory appointment and Lara replaces Deborah Glassbrook, who was appointed in October 2019 and retired in June this year. BFfC’s Director of Education, Brian Grady, has stepped up as interim DCS while the new appointment process was under way.

Lara has led the delivery of a wide range of strategic and operational children’s services at local, regional and national levels, for both local authorities and The Children’s Society. She has also held positions as both a Board Director and a Trustee.

“We are delighted that Lara will be joining us as the new DCS for Reading,’ said Di Smith, Executive Director and Board Chair for BFfC.

“Lara has significant experience of leading change, working in partnership with staff and partners and a solid track record of developing strong collaborative partnerships, internally and externally.”

Leader of Reading Borough Council Cllr Jason Brock said: “We have been fortunate to find a new Director of Children’s Services with Lara’s experience, in-depth knowledge of children’s social care and passion for improving the delivery of children’s services in Reading.

“During these challenging times it is more important than ever that good quality services are provided to children, young people and their families in Reading. I look forward to welcoming Lara as she takes the lead in this vital role.”

Lara will be joining the teams at Reading Borough Council and Brighter Futures for Children early in the new year.