Di Smith, Brighter Futures for Children Chair

BRIGHTER Futures for Children (BFfC) has announced the appointment of its new Board Chair. The company provides Reading’s education, early help and children’s services. 

Di Smith, who has worked in the children and education sector for more than 40 years, has taken on the role from 1 April following her appointment by the Department for Education. 

She takes over from Deborah Jenkins MBE who helped in the creation of BFfC and played a significant role in the considerable improvements achieved over the last two years. 

Ms Smith has been Independent Chair of the Children’s Services Improvement Board in Reading and has supported the progress that has been made since 2016. 

She has been a Director of Children’s Services in four different areas and has provided improvement support in several local authorities. 

Ms Smith has also worked in residential care, been a head teacher, Ofsted inspector and chair of governors and held senior leadership positions in six local authorities. 

She also holds a number of other positions including that of Independent Chair/Scrutineer of Croydon’s Safeguarding Children’s Partnership, Safeguarding Trustee at The Children’s Society and Independent Chair of the Safeguarding Advisory Committee for the Diocese in Europe. 

Ms Smith said: “I am delighted to be the new Board Chair of Brighter Futures for Children. Over the past few weeks, I have received regular updates from the Managing Director Tony Kildare and Director of Children’s Services Deborah Glassbrook.  

“I have been really inspired by what I have heard from them about staff commitment, adaptability, focus and care. These are extraordinary times and I feel proud to be joining an organisation that has such a dedicated, caring and committed workforce.”

Derborah Jenkins is leaving the role after becoming chair in March 2018 and playing a key role in helping Reading’s Children’s Services achieve its improved Ofsted rating in October last year. 

Ms Jenkins said: “It has been a huge pleasure to work in Reading for the last two years, and to play a part in building Brighter Futures for Children 

“I would like to thank everyone I have worked with in Reading for their hard work, commitment and dedication to transforming the quality of children’s services in the borough. 

I am confident, with the excellent new chair Di Smith in place, BFfC has the talent and skills to create some of the best services in the country for the children and young people of Reading.” 

Antony Kildare, Managing Director of Brighter Futures for Children, said: “We are all indebted to Deborah Jenkins for taking us on this improvement journey and firmly putting us in the positive place we are today. 

“I am delighted that Di Smith is joining us as our new Chair after working with us in Reading for some time.

She brings a huge amount of experience to the BFfC board and I am sure she willl have a great influence on our ongoing drive to deliver the best possible services for children and young people in Reading.” 

Cllr Liz Terry, Reading’s Lead Councillor for Children’s Services, said: “I welcome the appointment of Di Smith as Chair of the Brighter Futures for Children Board. She has a wealth of experience working in the children sector and I am sure she will be a great asset to the company. 

“I would also like to thank Deborah Jenkins for her work during her two years as Chair during which time there have been ongoing improvements to children’s services in Reading.” 

Notes to Editors 

Brighter Futures for Children is an independent not-for-profit company, wholly owned by Reading Borough Council, established in December 2018 to deliver education early help and children’s services for Reading. 

The company operated as a shadow company for some months before while services were still being run by Reading Borough Council. 

BFfC successfully brought children’s services out of its ‘inadequate’ Ofsted rating in October 2019 when it was judged as ‘requires improvement to be good’.