Reading council has dismissed its director of children’s services after only four months in the job.
Sylvia Chew has left her post as director of children, education and early help services due to “serious concerns about her performance”, the council said. It has also terminated the temporary contract of Raj Bharkhada, interim head of children’s services.
Reading has appointed Wendy Fabbro as interim statutory director of children’s services in the wake of Chew’s departure. She is also the council’s director of adult care and health and will hold both posts for the time being.
In a statement, Reading council said: “Conditions of service which apply to all senior council officers state they are expected to make significant achievements in implementing the council’s targets and programmes, with progress reviewed at regular intervals. Sylvia Chew joined the council in July. Following an internal review, the council has decided not to continue with the contract due to serious concerns about performance.
“The decision in no way reflects the valuable and important work being carried out by our staff on a day-to-day basis.”
Chew was publicly criticised by a High Court judge in 2013 for ordering a child protection investigation, when she was Haringey’s head of service for early response, into the care of a six-year-old girl which should not have taken place.
She left Haringey in 2012 and became director of children’s social care in Kingston upon Thames. Management of this service was transferred in 2014 to Achieving for Children, the community interest company that runs children’s services for Kingston and neighbouring Richmond council.