Lewis sacked as County Council's director of children's services
County Council announced on Friday it has terminated its contract
with interim Director of Childrens Services
follows a series of disappointing reports into some of the Councils
Childrens Homes and Childrens Centres.
Lewis will leave the Council immediately. As he was not a direct employee
of the Council, there will be no pay-off and no pension payments.
announcement was made by Chief Executive Pat Flaherty.
I came into my post six months ago, and I gave Peter and
his team time to prove themselves to me. It is hugely disappointing
that results have not matched expectations, he said.
Lewis was taken on by the Council 18 months ago, in part because
of his national recognition as a leader in this industry.
have put in extra budgets and extra staff including more childrens
social workers, Mr Flaherty said. This has brought
improvements which the government has recognised but sadly not
at the level or speeds anticipated and the current situation with
our childrens homes and childrens centres is just
not good enough.
high level departure comes just weeks after the Council announced
it was closing down two of its childrens homes due to failings
in the standards of care provided, poor management and safeguarding
findings of a recent Ofsted inspection of childrens centres
in Taunton are also likely to result in a further 'Inadequate'
you make this much investment into Childrens Services, you
expect results to match," said Mr Flaherty. "Although
we have seen improvement in some areas, it is too little and too
slow. With the recent findings around Childrens Homes and
Childrens Centres, I believe now is the time to be decisive,
move forward and give fresh impetus to improvements to the support
we give to vulnerable children."
Council is currently advertising for a permanent position of Director
of Childrens Services. In the meantime the role will be
held on a temporary basis by the CEO.
the County Council's Liberal Democrat leader has called for the
cabinet member to resign over the announcement.
Lock, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Opposition at Somerset County
Council, said: "It's time the Tories came to their senses
and acted responsibly. To my disappointment they were not capable
of doing so, with the council's Chief Exec having to step in and
remove Mr Lewis. They were well aware of the continuing crisis
in the service that protects our most vulnerable children; this
simply isn't good enough."
Liberal Democrats have constantly made the Conservative led county
council aware of issues that have been brought to their attention
and when no action was taken went as far as informing OFSTED."
man has cost the taxpayers of Somerset £500,000 since being
brought in 18 months ago, after Children's Services were rated
as inadequate by OFSTED, but indeed the higher cost has been to
the consistency and quality of care provided for children. There
has clearly been no discernible improvement."
Tories have failed in their duty to children; it is their lack
of leadership, poor policies and disastrous cuts that have contributed
to the horrendous position Somerset is in. I call on Frances Nicholson
to resign as the Cabinet member responsible for this latest debacle."
Lewis was appointed by a cross-party panel of councillors in 2013
and his appointment was then ratified by Full Council in May of
that year. His contract was with the agency Penna and therefore
SCC ended the contract on Friday with Penna, not direct with Peter
Lewis. As an agency worker, the Council did not have to pay Peter
for holiday or sick leave and on ending the contract, the Council
will not make any further payment nor make any pension provision.