Who is Debbie Barnes, the new Lincolnshire County Council Chief Executive?

Lincolnshire County Council has chosen its current director of children’s services and interim head of paid services Debbie Barnes as its new Chief Executive. So who is she?

Debbie Barnes joined the council in 2006 and was promoted to director of children’s services in 2012.

In her time at the council she has worked on the Safeguarding Children Board and led educational achievements for the Association of Directors of Children’s Services.

She also co-chaired a government working party on improving education of looked after children.

Debbie played a major part in Rotherham Borough Council, chairing the improvement board there and achieving a “good” judgement from Ofsted, with services for care leavers judged as outstanding.

Lincolnshire Children’s Services has also supported Tower Hamlets and Northamptonshire councils under her leadership.

Her input at the authority has seen its “sector-led” approach shared at conferences in Switzerland, Scotland and Canada.

In 2018, Debbie was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, with council leader Martin Hill saying she had “been outstanding”.

“Under her leadership, children in Lincolnshire enjoy higher-quality education, better examination results, strong safeguarding and more joined-up support than many other areas in the country,” he said last year.

Debbie Barnes is a Lincoln College alumni and was recently guest of honour at their awards. Photo: Stuart Wilde

Earlier this year, the TaxPayers’ alliance revealed Debbie was one of the highest earning council workers in the county with a salary recorded in April of £132,140 – former CEO Keith Ireland was reportedly contracted for £178,500.

Lincoln-born, Debbie went to the city’s college in her youth.

Married to Kieran Barnes, Debbie has two children with one living in Australia and the other at university.

According to the Greater Lincolnshire Enterprise Board, she enjoys cycling, swimming and spending time with family and friends.

Debbie follows in the footsteps of the first female chief executive for Lincolnshire County Council Jill Barrow, who held office from 1995-98.

She will be one of three female Chief Executive Officers in Lincolnshire, with the others being Angela Andrews at the City of Lincoln Council and Anna Graves at South Holland District Council.


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