KCC finally appoints new social care boss

Kent County Council has finally appointed a permanent head of its struggling children’s services team after months of funding an expensive temporary boss.

Andrew Ireland will become the new corporate director for families and social care from November, replacing the man who has cost taxpayers £1,250 a day in agency fees since January 4, Malcolm Newsam.

Mr Newsam has been largely credited with putting the children’s services side of the department back on track following last year’s disastrous Ofsted inspection, which found children were at risk of harm due to a catalogue of failings in the system.

Cabinet member for specialist children’s services, Cllr Jenny Whittle, said: “Leading children’s social services is a tough challenge at any time, and especially now when everyone is working so hard to continue the improvements in children’s social services.

“Malcolm Newsam will be a hard act to follow given the significant improvements he has delivered, but I believe we have found the right person to take over on a permanent basis.”

Mr Ireland is currently group director for social care and learning at Havering council in north-east London. Under his leadership the authority received a rating of ‘excellent’ from Ofsted for children’s services in 2010, and ‘performing well’ for adult services.

Up until 2005 he had worked for KCC for nearly 20 years in a variety of social care roles, including as west Kent area director for social services.

He said: “I am delighted to be joining KCC and to lead the families and social care directorate.

“There is a great deal of work to be done and I am looking forward to making a start alongside new colleagues.”