New appointments to leadership team

Naz Parkar has been appointed as the interim Strategic Director of Economy Skills and Infrastructure. Naz’s appointment fills the gap in the senior officer structure left by Jacqui Gedman.

Naz has a proven track record in a senior government role, most recently at the Executive Director of the Homes and Communities Agency for the North East, Yorkshire and Humber.

Working in Partnership with local enterprise partnerships, local authorities, housebuilders and registered providers, Naz brings a wealth of experience at both a regional and local level which will help shape and influence Kirklees’ future.

Naz’s responsibilities include:

  • Protecting and delivering the outcomes we need to achieve our economic ambitions for the borough.
  • Delivering the savings we need to make in the economy, skills and infrastructure area
  • Directing changes and creating opportunities at both local, regional and national levels
  • Offering stability to our statutory services at a time of significant change
  • Creating conditions where businesses and wealth can grow naturally and are retained within the district
  • Corporate leadership of the council

Merlin Joseph has been appointed as an Improvement Director to drive the improvement journey in children’s services.

Merlin has many years’ experience in leading services to support children and young people. She has previously worked as a director and assistant director in the London boroughs of Hillingdon and Bromley.

The council agreed with Eleanor Brazil, the Secretary of State’s Commissioner who is currently supporting our work, that an ‘Improvement Director’ should be recruited in Kirklees for a period of six months. As a result, Merlin will help to lead our ongoing improvement work and drive forward our Improvement Plan.

Merlin’s responsibilities include:

  • overseeing and managing the Improvement Plan, ensuring key milestones are met
  • addressing current operational issues and delivering improvements
  • identifying and removing any barriers to our progress
  • working closely with key partners and the Children’s Services Improvement Board, to ensure a co-ordinated approach
  • providing updates to the Commissioner, Department for Education, Ofsted and Improvement Board
  • helping the council to prepare for, and respond to, Ofsted monitoring visits
  • working with Kirklees Safeguarding Children Board to develop and strengthen its role and effectiveness

This is a key post in helping the council and its partners to respond to current challenges and deliver long-term change. The improvement work is our number-one priority as we aim to achieve the highest possible standards for children, young people and families across Kirklees.

Carly Speechley, Assistant Director for Family Support and Child Protection, has accepted a position with another local authority closer to her home.

Carly has played a significant role in helping us with our improvement journey and that her contribution has been enormously valuable. Carly will be leaving the council at the end of March.

In light of Carly’s decision to leave, Anne Coyle joins us as an interim Assistant Director from March 9, allowing us to achieve a smooth transition before Carly leaves – and we are confident that there will be minimal disruption as we continue our journey to improve outcomes for children, young people and families.


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