Change at the top for Frontline

15th January 2021

Mary Jackson has been appointed as interim CEO of social work charity Frontline, replacing Josh MacAlister who is leaving to chair the Government’s forthcoming Independent Review of Children’s Social Care in England.

Mary, who has worked at Frontline for the past six years, will take up the post when Josh leaves Frontline in February. As the charity’s chief programmes officer, Mary oversees the delivery of the Frontline programme and the Firstline programme as well as the Fellowship, which connects and supports all those who have been through one of the charity’s programmes.

Camilla Cavendish, chair of Frontline’s board of trustees, said: “I am delighted that Mary Jackson has agreed to act as interim CEO. With her substantial experience, I cannot think of a better person than Mary to lead Frontline in this period and drive forward our agenda. Frontline has come a very long way under Josh MacAlister’s leadership and we wish him the very best of luck with continuing to create social change for children through the Care Review.”

Mary Jackson said: “I’m honoured to have been offered this opportunity by the board of trustees. I am passionate about Frontline, and about achieving the charity’s vision and mission for children and families through our programme delivery and the Fellowship, which is growing in size and impact.

“We will, of course, miss Josh enormously – he is Frontline’s founder, and his vision, determination and drive are what has grown the charity to where we are today. The whole team is committed to continuing what Josh started and I am ready and excited to step in to lead Frontline while the board recruits a permanent CEO. As well as ensuring we deliver on business as usual during this time, we will also be continuing to drive forward our 2025 strategy.”

Josh MacAlister said: “Starting and growing Frontline has been deeply rewarding. To have an idea, gather backers and then spend years making it become a reality has been a highlight of my life. I want to thank all those who believed in and supported me along the way, and of course the 1,800 aspiring social workers who enrolled on the Frontline programme, and 500 social work managers who have benefitted from the Firstline programme so far. Collectively, these professionals have worked with tens of thousands of children and families across England, and I am proud of the growing impact they are having in creating social change.

“It is always difficult to leave a job that you love, but the opportunity to lead a bold and independent review of children’s social care is one that I cannot turn down. This review is a once in a generation opportunity to radically improve the support we give to the hundreds of thousands of children, young people and families who have a social worker. I know that I am leaving Frontline in safe hands – Mary and the team will do a tremendous job over the next months, until a permanent successor is found – and I will be willing the organisation on as it goes from strength to strength in the future.”

For more information contact Ellie Fletcher on