GSCC names Penny Thompson as chief executive

The General Social Care Council has appointed Baby P troubleshooter Penny Thompson as its new chief executive.

Thompson, a qualified social worker who served as interim deputy chief executive at NHS Haringey in the wake of the Baby Peter case, will replace the regulator’s interim leader Paul Snell in April.

GSCC chair Rosie Varley said Thompson’s career “demonstrates her ability to achieve in the most demanding of circumstances”.

“In particular, her experience of turning around the performance of Sheffield’s social services department, together with her recent experience [as interim deputy chief executive] at NHS Haringey in the wake of the Baby Peter tragedy, make her an ideal candidate to take forward the GSCC at this critical juncture.”

She led Sheffield Council out of special measures after becoming social services director in 1998, a post she held until 2005.

She went on to become chief executive at the London Borough of Hackney between 2005 and 2007, where she oversaw an improvement in its rating from one to two stars.

The GSCC suspended its previous chief executive, Mike Wardle, last July after amassing a backlog of 203 unallocated conduct cases.

Since then, two interim chief executives have been in place: Paul Philip, who has returned to his post at the General Medical Council as acting chief executive, and Paul Snell, who will remain in charge until Thompson takes over.

Wardle was dismissed in November after an internal investigation.

Of her appointment, Thompson said: “I am very pleased to take this important role in leading the GSCC as it matures and strengthens its approach to regulation, supported by the Social Work Task Force reforms.”

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