James Thomas

James Thomas

Board Director

James joined the Innovation Unit board at the start of 2019, bringing experience of local government and children’s services, as well as a keen interest in innovative service models that deliver better outcomes for people at the same time as reducing demand and dependence upon the state.

James is currently the Director of Children’s Services for Richmond-Upon-Thames, itself committed to an innovative service model delivered through community interest company Achieving for Children. Previously James was the Director of Children’s Services for Tameside Council, helping to drive their improvement plans as well as leading for Greater Manchester on safeguarding reform. He has also been the Director of Children’s Services & Community Neighbourhoods for Newham, developing a clear practice model and securing major investment for innovation from the DfE Innovation Programme and Big Lottery, and the Director of Family Services for Westminster and Tri-borough, leading the development of services to an outstanding Ofsted judgement.

James remains registered as a Social Worker and held a number of posts as a children’s practitioner and manager before moving into strategic leadership roles. James has long been an active member of the Association of Directors of Children’s Services, and is currently their national lead on