Zero star ratings for social services lead to directors’ departures

Four of the 10 directors of the social services departments that
received a zero-star rating in May have left their councils, and a
fifth is on stress-related sick leave.

Last week, Coventry Council’s director of social services
Jonathan Smith became the fourth to leave a zero-star council. He
will take up a job as chief executive of Warrington primary care

His departure follows those of former directors Jeremy Ambache
and Don Phillips, who left the London Borough of Bromley and
Walsall Council respectively straight after the ratings were
published, and Sandra Taylor, who left Birmingham Council last

A spokesperson for Birmingham said Taylor had left by mutual
agreement following a restructuring of the senior management. But
former Birmingham social services team manager Philip Measures said
that he believed Taylor had been forced out over her plans to
remove a tier of managers who she believed had “been around for too

Marie Seaton, director of zero star-rated Swindon social
services department, is away from her post on sick leave. At the
same time it has emerged that the council’s chief executive Paul
Doherty is in talks to agree a leaving package, following a number
of critical inspections of its departments.

At the London Borough of Merton, social services spokesperson
councillor Maxie Martin said there were no plans to replace social
services director Rea Mattocks, who joined the borough just a
fortnight before the critical children’s services inspection which
led to the council being placed on special measures.

She said another visit by the inspectors at the end of last
month had found an improvement in services. “We will be getting a
one-star rating in the not too distant future,” Martin

The other four councils with zero star-rated social services
departments – North East Lincolnshire, Haringey, Wakefield, and
East Sussex – said there were no plans for their social services
directors to leave their posts.

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