Local Authority leaders have paid tribute to a key figure in children’s safeguarding Colin Morris, who has passed away age 61.

Colin had 40 years’ experience working across a range of public services, including social work and with the NHS, and locally as the chair of both Newcastle and Sunderland’s Safeguarding Children’s Boards.

Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, said

“Colin was an extremely effective chair of our Childrens Safeguarding Board. He brought agencies together around a shared vision of protecting children and young people in the city, and was very skilful at getting everyone to take this with the utmost seriousness.

“Colin was hugely knowledgeable about social care issues, but always managed to make complex issues simple to understand.  He motivated people to do their very best, inspiring fierce loyalty and respect from people who worked with him. He was hard working and diligent to the end, only stepping down as safeguarding chair just days before he passed away.

“My thoughts and sympathies are with his wife Carmel at this very sad time for them.”

Colin became Independent Chair of Newcastle Safeguarding Children’s Board (NSCB) in 2015, following work with Darlington Borough Council and the NHS. He also worked as the Independent Chair of Safeguarding Boards in Sunderland, Darlington and Stockton.

In 2017, under his leadership, Newcastle Safeguarding Children’s Board was rated ‘Good’ by OFSTED.

Colin also worked internationally.  He led a team to Romania investigating the international adoption of children from orphanages.  In 1999, on behalf of Unicef and the Mauritius Government he undertook an investigation into child abuse in the country.

Pat Ritchie, Chief Executive of Newcastle City Council said “I am saddened to hear the news about Colin passing away and my thoughts are with his family and friends.

“Colin was a fantastic ambassador for safeguarding children in Newcastle and was dedicated to improving the lives of some of our cities most vulnerable young people.

“His work for the Safeguarding Board has been exceptional and he has steered the group through some challenging times, including vital work to tackle sexual exploitation across Newcastle which is seen as a national example of best practice.

“On a personal note, I have really valued Colin’s knowledge and experience and his easy rapport; he will be sorely missed.”

Ewen Weir, Director for People at Newcastle City Council said;

‘I have worked with Colin, at various times, over 30 years.  The key to Colin was his absolute integrity and his passion.

“He cared deeply about outcomes for people and as Independent Chair of Newcastle’s Children’s Safeguarding Board he was committed to the protection of the most vulnerable.

It was no coincidence that under his leadership the Safeguarding Board was rated ‘GOOD’ by OFSTED in 2016.  I am very sad at the news of his death and feel I have lost both a colleague and a good friend’.