Page last updated at 14:36 GMT, Monday, 25 January 2010

Row over chief executive at Edlington council

Peter Davies
Mr Davies is said to be unhappy over Mr Leader's appointment

A troubled council which was criticised for failures which allowed two brothers to attack two boys in Edlington has been plunged further into crisis.

A row has broken out over the appointment of Doncaster Council's new interim chief executive, Tim Leader.

Mayor of Doncaster Peter Davies is said to be unhappy over the appointment, which he believes is legally flawed, and has called on Mr Leader to resign.

Doncaster Council said a meeting would take place to address the matter.

Mr Leader's appointment follows the resignation of Paul Hart, who stood down from the post on 13 January due to "personal reasons".

I shall not, however, be forced from my post by a peremptory, improper, unfair and wholly unjustified demand for my resignation
Tim Leader, acting chief executive

Last week Doncaster Council issued an "unqualified apology" for failures which led to the Edlington attacks.

The brothers, aged 11 and 12, were given indeterminate sentences on Friday for subjecting their victims to a 90-minute ordeal in the South Yorkshire village last April.

A serious case review found the attack was "preventable".

A letter from Mr Leader to Mr Davies seen by BBC News reveals that the mayor told him he had consulted lawyers and believed his appointment as interim chief executive was "legally flawed".

In the letter Mr Leader, the council's former monitoring officer, reveals the mayor told him that neither he nor the cabinet had any confidence in him and that he should "resign forthwith".

Mr Leader, who was appointed interim chief executive by 38 votes to 15 on 18 January, notes that the mayor's preferred choice for the role was Robin Hooper, the current deputy director of children's services.

Snap inspection

He said he continues to enjoy the support of the council and would be happy to discuss the "difficulties that have arisen".

He added: "I shall not, however, be forced from my post by a peremptory, improper, unfair and wholly unjustified demand for my resignation."

In a statement Doncaster Council said: "It is a matter of public record that there has been some controversy regarding the council meeting that took place on 18 January and the decision to appoint an acting chief executive.

"Following the receipt of specialist legal advice it has become clear that a further meeting of the council will be required to conclude the process."

A spokeswoman said talks were taking place to arrange a date for the meeting.

Meanwhile, it has emerged that the Audit Commission is to carry out an inspection of the local authority.

Seven children known to Doncaster Council have died in the borough since 2004, prompting serious case reviews, Ofsted inspections and a government investigation.

An Audit Commission spokesman said the decision to carry out the inspection was prompted by "serious concerns about the Council's performance in the last two years and the threat to public confidence caused by recent events".

"The inspection will take place as soon as the necessary arrangements can be made," he said.

Print Sponsor

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