Social Services Chief Quits After ‘Style’ Criticised

The director of Reading Social Services has quit after her managing skills were criticised. Eileen Means, director of housing and community care at Reading Borough Council left her post “by mutual agreement”. A month before her departure she was forced to take a leave of absence when an investigation was launched into the management of her department.

Ruth Allman, spokeswoman for the council, said: “Eileen has been a strong advocate for housing and social care services in Reading and has led her directorate in making real improvements to adult care and managing within a tight budget.

“However, her approach to the management of people in achieving change was not acceptable.As a consequence, Eileen has moved on by mutual agreement.”

Since the mother-of-two took the job three years ago the department has been stripped of its government performance rates.

The department now holds a one-star out of three status, but the council blamed its lower rating on errors in a Commission for Social Care Inspection report and Ms Means won praise for retaining and recruiting staff and delivering a balanced budget.

However, through the Freedom of Information Act, it has emerged that although no formal complaints were lodged against Ms Means, a number of staff raised issues through confidential appraisals.

And deputy leader of the council, Joe Lovelock, said: “It became clear that her style of management was not that acceptable to us and we reached an agreement for her to leave without returning to work.” Assistant director of housing Debbie Ward, will be taking over on an interim basis for at least a year.