Concern over extra year for children’s chief

THE interim head of children and young people’s services at Suffolk County Council may get another year in the post when his current contract runs out, it has emerged.

Simon White was appointed on a one-year contract last April after the departure of Rosalyn Turner and earlier in the summer the county council confirmed he had been given another year.

Now it has emerged he may be given a third year as interim director next April to see the county council through a period of unprecedented change.

Graham Newman, county councillor with responsibility for children and young people, said the pace of change in the department was so rapid that it made sense not to make a permanent appointment.

He said: “With the changes that are being proposed for the way schools are funded and uncertainty over children’s social services, it makes sense not to make a permanent appointment at this time.

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“If we made a permanent appointment now, or even in a year’s time, we might find that the whole landscape had changed within months.

“By retaining the job in its present form it gives us the flexibility to react when we know what the future will hold and make an appointment then.”

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It was revealed in June that Mr White was being paid fees totalling �171,000 a year by the county.

This cost was defended by council leader Jeremy Pembroke, who said that because the authority did not have to pay national insurance or pension contributions it worked out cheaper than employing a full-time director.

Opposition leader Kathy Pollard was concerned to hear about the possible extension to Mr White’s temporary contract.

She said: “We understand why people are brought in on a temporary basis but this should not continue for a long period like this.

“It causes uncertainty in the department and people feel as if there is no real continuity – I have heard people in the department saying they don’t know what the future holds for them and that is not good for the council.”

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