New kids’ boss quits after a day and a half

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THE council’s new head of children’s social care has quit – less than two days into the job. Sharmain Lawrence was appointed after last month’s sudden departure of Pixley Clarke.

But Ms Lawrence, who used to work for Salford Council, had a swift change of heart.

It has prompted speculation she might have been taken aback by the number of problems facing Calderdale Council over children’s social care and safeguarding. Her immediate boss, Janet Donaldson, has been suspended, the department is heading for a £2.5 million overspend, Ofsted inspectors remain highly critical and councillors are holding a major inquiry into the crisis.

The chairman of the council’s children and young people’s panel, Coun Colin Raistrick (Ind, Hipperholme and Lightcliffe) said there had been turmoil and confirmed the replacement head of children’s social care had pulled out.

Ms Lawrence, who was the assistant director of targeted and specialist support services at Salford, was unavailable for comment.

She helped produce a safeguarding action plan for the council after it was issued with an Improvement Notice, just like Calderdale Council was earlier this year.

A council spokesman said: “Ms Lawrence left due to unforeseen personal circumstances.”