Top boss is suspended
Hamish Hutchinson • Published 5 Oct 2012 17:00
Deirdre Cilliers has been suspended.
THE joint head of social services for Clackmannanshire and Stirling has been suspended, the Advertiser can exclusively reveal.
Deirdre Cilliers has been ordered to stay away as part of an internal probe into the social work department in the Wee County.
She is the most senior casualty of an independent review into the long-term childcare team sparked by a damning court judgement.
The move comes just over a year after Ms Cilliers was appointed as head of joint social services and only a month after Service Manager Jim Burke left his post by "mutual agreement". He died almost two weeks later due to a suspected heart attack. And the Advertiser understands that another service manager, Joan Lyle, has offered her resignation.
It follows a major shake-up of the service after an independent review criticised practice and management of cases for looked-after children.
A special meeting has been called to discuss the internal probe next week.
Its findings are expected to show that Clackmannanshire has four and a half more child referral cases in long-term and short-term teams than the Scottish average - and more child dependency cases per head than Glasgow.
Clackmannanshire Council Chief Executive, Elaine McPherson, said, "Further to the independent review, several different workstreams and investigations have been ongoing. Over these few months concerns about the performance of some staff have been taken forward in line with council policies and procedures.
"While it would be inappropriate to comment on individual cases, our policies and procedures include the use of precautionary suspension which in no way pre-judges the outcome of any disciplinary investigation. This council has and will continue to take such action as is required to further the initial and subsequent review and investigations."
An independent review published before the summer criticised practice and management of cases for looked-after children.
That review had been actioned after a damning court judgement of the team in the conclusion of a case involving the welfare of a child.
Alloa's Sheriff David Mackie described "fundamental systemic failures" in the department, such as a culture of poor record-keeping.
Since the independent review was published, the Clackmannanshire Council has called in experts from the Centre for Looked After Children in Scotland, the Scottish Government and the Care Inspectorate, to support the department.
This article appeared in Alloa & Hillfoots Advertiser 03 Oct 12
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