Our organisation and structure

We’re an arms length management organisation (sometimes known as an ALMO for short) delivering social care and support services to children, young people and families in Doncaster on the behalf of Doncaster Council.

We believe that every child and young person in the borough deserves the best start in life and support when they need it to reach their full potential. We will support vulnerable children and young people of all backgrounds, races, disabilities, and cultures in the borough who need our help at times of need or crisis in their lives.

We came into operation on the 1 October 2014 and our work is led by a Chief Executive and a board of local and professional people with expertise within and outside of the borough.

How we give you our guarantee of quality? 

All our social workers and their managers are qualified social workers who are registered with the Health and Care Professional Council. They have to undergo specialists tests every year to check the quality of their practice. All our staff, including social workers and other practitioners, have intensive training and support.

Our services are inspected by Ofsted, including our children's homes. Our other services can be inspected about the general quality of our work, or about particular areas of practice. 

We have an independent board who oversee our work, and we also report our performance to Doncaster Council who are our local comissioners. 


About our Trust Board

Tony Hunter, Chair

Tony has been Chief Executive of the Social Care Institute for Excellence since January 2014, and is a former president of the Association of Directors of Social Services. Educated at Doncaster Grammar School, Oxford University and (for his social work qualification) Nottingham University, Tony has council experience as a frontline social worker, senior hospital social worker, training manager and manager of day and domiciliary services, as well as four years as Barnardo’s Principal Policy and Development Officer.

In the early 90s Tony worked for Price Waterhouse Coopers on a range of health and social care projects before joining East Riding of Yorkshire Council as its Director of Social Services, Housing and Public Protection. As Liverpool City Council’s director from 2003, Tony led the social care improvement agenda, before becoming Chief Executive of North East Lincolnshire Council in 2008.

Tony was awarded the OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2010, for services to social care.

James Thomas, Executive Director - Chief Executive of Doncaster Children's Services Trust

James has worked for the Trust since May 2015, in a number of different roles including the Director of Performance, Innovation and Quality Assurance before becoming Chief Executive in February 2020. He has over 20 year’s experience working across the public sector in a range of organisations, following a successful career in private industry.

Rob Moore, Executive Director - Director of Corporate Services and Company Secretary

Rob has worked as a senior manager across a variety of organisations as well as being a consultant and project director. His recent experience, predominantly in the public sector, has been within the education sector, including further education and multi-academy trusts; he has also worked for a charity in the education sector.

James is committed to keeping children and young people at the heart of everything the Trust does, within all parts of the business.

Julie Mepham - Director of Children's Social Care 

Julie has worked in children and young people’s services for over 28 years. Working locally, regionally and nationally, she has worked closely with the Department for Education and Department for Work and Pensions developing and implementing children’s legislation and guidance.  She has over 25 years post qualifying experience across all sectors.

Julie is committed to improving outcomes for children, young people and families through her strategic knowledge and experience of partnerships, collaborative working and ensuring that quality as well as performance drives services. She is passionate about the strategic direction of the Trust ensuring that the voices of our children and young people are at the heart of all we do.    

Dr Rupert Suckling, Non-Executive Director

Rupert is Doncaster’s Director of Public Health. He is a qualified medical doctor who trained in general medicine and psychiatry before public health medicine.

Rupert has experience in management, team building and network creation. He has gained national recognition for his public health work in Doncaster, including on implementing the Doncaster Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) programme. The programme offers interventions approved by the National Institute of Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) for treating people with depression and anxiety disorders.

Rupert also led the ‘3 week cough’ programme that used social marketing techniques to improve the earlier diagnosis of lung cancer. More recently he leads the Well Doncaster programme part of Well North.

Previously he has been a consultant in public health and was the lead clinician for the North Trent Cancer Network. He is also a trustee of Club Doncaster Foundation.

Stephanie Douglas, Non-Executive Director

Stephanie Douglas, Head of Early Intervention and Localities in the Learning and Opportunities Directorate of Doncaster Metropolitan Borough Council has over 35 years’ experience working in the education and skills sector and 20 years working as a local authority senior officer.

Stephanie is dedicated to improving outcomes for children and families by the leadership and implementation of excellence in policy and practice. Working as a teacher, Primary School Headteacher, Ofsted Inspector, Primary/Early Years Adviser and Head of Service for an award winning Early Years Service, her experiences include contributions to research projects on literacy and early reading skills, HMI studies on financial management, lecturing for educational bodies, chairing regional educational groups and participating in government strategy working groups. She is currently delighted to be a board member of the South Yorkshire Futures regional group based at the Sheffield Hallam University and leads on the early help strategy and on the locality solutions initiative in Doncaster. All responsibilities reflect a passion for the care and education of young children and their families.

Karen Finlayson, Non-Executive Director 

Karen is a Partner in PWC’s Risk Assurance practice. She leads the health industries and government governance, risk and internal audit businesses in the North. She also represents the regions on the firms Government and Health Industries Board. Karen provides assurance and advisory services to a range of clients in both the public and private sectors and works extensively across the healthcare sector. An experienced board member Karen is currently on the Board and Audit and Risk Committee of Sheffield Hallam University.

Jane Humphreys, Non-Executive Director

Jane is a qualified Social Worker with over 30 years Local Authority Children and Adult Services experience across Teesside, including 7 Years as Director of Children Services and Director of Adult Services. Jane has managed the whole range of Local Authority Services and also Integrated Community Health, Learning Disability and Mental Health Services. Jane retired from Local Government in 2017 but has continued to work as a Consultant Advisor to Children and Adult Services both in the Statutory sector and also providing advice to Solicitors and legal teams in relation to accessing Statutory Services.

Dawn Jones, Staff Observer

Dawn Jones has been the Customer Experience Manager for Doncaster Children’s Services Trust since January 2016. Prior to this Dawn was self-employed for four years working as a complaints investigation, mediator and consultant for a variety of Local Authorities and schools across the country. Dawn also worked for seven years in another local authority within Children’s and Young People’s Services where she undertook a number of roles before becoming the Strategic Business Lead for the directorate.


The Trust Structure 

You can view the Trust Structure by downloading the PDF below. 


“You painted a picture of the situation for the young person and were clearly passionate about promoting his voice.”

Practice development social worker

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