Stronger partnership will continue the ‘significant progress’ of SEND improvements

Education younger age children sat round a table in a class room with a teacher

Published Thursday, 10th October 2019

Fiona Phelps is to become the acting Managing Director of Cognus, Sutton Council’s education services provider

Fiona has been Sutton Council’s Assistant Director with responsibility for Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) for 18 months. She has most recently been working with Cognus to improve the services and support they provide children and young people with SEND. An independent review, published this month, reports the council and Cognus are making ‘significant progress.’

The arrangement will see Fiona share her time appropriately between the council and Cognus.

Following a request from the Chair of the board of Cognus, Ian Comfort, Sutton Council has agreed that Fiona will manage the company on a short-term basis until a permanent arrangement is made. Both Cognus and Sutton Council agree this will be the most effective way to ensure both organisations continue to improve at the pace they have so far maintained. 


Speaking of the appointment, Councillor Marian James, Chair of Sutton Council’s People Committee said:

“Fiona will be an excellent acting Managing Director of Cognus. She has already demonstrated her ability to drive improvements at pace and I know will continue this trend at Cognus. We’re ambitious for all Sutton’s children and will take every step to ensure we provide excellent services. I look forward to working with her in her new, temporary, role.” 


Ian Comfort, Chair of Cognus, said:

“We are very pleased to welcome Fiona as acting Managing Director and have every confidence that the progress we are making will continue under her leadership. I would like to take this opportunity to also thank Bob Harrison, Cognus’ Service Director, for his leadership to this point. We've come a long way in recent months and look forward to working in closer partnership with the council to ensure this continues.”


Fiona Phelps, Sutton Council’s Assistant Director of Education and SEND, said:

“I look forward to working with Ian and colleagues at Cognus. Across the Local Area we’ve proven that by working more closely together we can improve at the pace we need. We have firm foundations in place now and will continue this work to ensure that Sutton’s children, young people, parents and carers are well served by the council and our partners.”