Page last updated at 09:35 GMT, Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Children's services boss resigns

Councillor Pete Ruhemann
Mr Ruhemann blamed pressure from rival parties only for his decision.

The councillor heading a Berkshire town's children's services has resigned one week after the publication of a critical inspection report.

Councillor Pete Ruhemann stepped down from the role at Reading Borough Council on Monday evening blaming pressure from rival parties.

An inspection report by Ofsted rated the care of vulnerable children in the town as "inadequate".

The council has said it is making improvements to its services.

The authority was one of eight in the country, including Wokingham, where safeguarding did not meet Ofsted standards.

Mr Ruhemann told BBC Berkshire that he resigned before he was pushed by political manoeuvres.

There have been a number of significant shortcomings in the service
Councillor Pete Ruhemann

"I decided to step down because of the deal between the conservatives and the Liberal Democrats on Reading Borough Council to remove me," he said.

"I can do the sums and there is no point in drawing this out.

"There have been a number of significant shortcomings in the service and that's is something, when I realised, I was very concerned about, angry about and very sorry about.

"I've been working for the last few years now to rebuild that service to create something that will guarantee the safety of children, which the town can be proud about."

The inspections were carried out in September last year.

Criticisms included assessments not being completed on time, over-burdened social workers and inadequate filing of personal data.

Ofsted's report acknowledged that Reading Borough Council has been working to remedy the weaknesses.

The borough council said it took the inspectors' findings "very seriously" and was appointing additional social care staff to reduce the workload in child protection teams.



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13 Jan 09 |  Berkshire

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