Deputy Director Education and Learning

Raise standards. Build aspirations. Drive achievement.


Meet Lucy Butler, Director for Children’s Services


Transcipt of the video

Hello and welcome

Hello everybody, my name’s Lucy Butler and I’m the new Director of Children’s Services.

I’m really delighted and excited to be in this role, partly because I’m a new member of  a new team and we’ve got some really ambitious goals for Oxfordshire, but one of the things I really want to do is I really want to make Oxfordshire the best place for children growing up.

It’s a great time to be the Director of Children’s Services, particularly with the fact that we’re going to have a new people directorate, which means that I’ll be able to work with colleagues from adult services on things like transition for young people moving into adults. I’ll be able to work with Public Health colleagues on the 0-5 agenda – really looking at how we support children with very complex needs. Also, I’m really excited to work with colleagues in E&E (Environment and Economy) on things like schools and our agenda around the children’s homes; so it’s a really exciting place to be at the moment and a really exciting role to have.

One of things I’m really keen to do is forge partnerships not only inside the council, but externally; I’m really keen to work with colleagues from district councils around the housing agenda; really really keen to have a different relationship with schools.

We’ve had an interesting journey to date with schools, particularly in the fact that a lot of schools are moving towards becoming academies, and we really want to have a new relationship and partnership with schools – with the whole of the school community, whether they are an academy or a maintained school – and really thinking about how we work closely together to get the best outcomes for children in Oxfordshire.

Where would you like our organisation to be in a year’s time?

I think Oxfordshire County Council is an amazing organisation if you think about the wealth of services that it offers to people in Oxfordshire, from sorting out the roads, to safeguarding children, to supporting vulnerable people in their homes.

And I think we’ve got a real opportunity to merge together as one council and really do things in a fantastic way for the people of Oxfordshire, so that we can really make the most out the connections we’ve got internally, but also really make the most out of the connections we’ve got externally – for instance with our health partners, and with our schools and with our district councils, so I think there’s a real moment for us to come together as a council to deliver services and also to forge new partnerships with services outside of the council. 

Can you describe the aim of the ‘customer journey’ workstream in our Fit for the future programme?

I’m very lucky to have the lead for the customer journey programme, and that is part of the overall transformation programme for the council, and what that is doing is looking at the experience of residents using our services and seeing how we can offer those services in the best way that makes the best sense.

We’re making it a lot easier for people, for instance if you want to renew your blue badge, but also looking at the experience of quite complicated things such as if you require a service from adult social care, how can we make that the best experience for you?

What’s the best thing about our organisation?

I think the best thing about our organisation is our staff, and their willingness to really go the extra mile to make people’s lives better, and I think that’s just an amazing thing we’ve got as an organisation.

What can we get better at?

I think we can get better at working together and really thinking through solutions to problems. I’ll give you a really good example of that: we’ve been working at changing the way deliver ‘stay and play’ services to very small children and one of the things we’ve done recently is join forces with the library service to support them to deliver stay and play services, and I think that’s a really fantastic way to make best use of the resources we’ve got available.

What can we all do to help the organisation be better?

I think the biggest thing that we can all do as individuals, in working for this organisation, is: if you’ve got a problem, don’t see the problem as a block, really think how you can work around that to create a solution. I think if we all came in with a solution-focussed hat on, we’d get really far.

When are you happiest?

When I’m at my most happiest is when I’m working with a group of people that are really focussed on what we’re trying to achieve and we’re having fun.

What is your greatest fear?

My greatest fear is people not feeling supported to do their job. If people can’t do their job, then I need to know about it and we need to change things.

Name a celebrity that you admire and why

Don’t laugh, but I do quite like Jamie Oliver. I like him because he’s really excellent at what he does but also he’s got a social conscience, and tries to think of different things to do is quite innovative, so I like him for that.