Page last updated at 18:02 GMT, Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Council chief announces departure

Doncaster Council
The council's children's services has been the subject of some criticism

The chief executive of Doncaster Council has announced he is standing down after three years in the post.

Paul Hart said "personal reasons" were behind his decision to step down from the role, later this month.

Mr Hart became interim chief executive in 2006 and was appointed to the post permanently in 2008.

In March, the government ordered a takeover of Doncaster Children's Services after the deaths of seven children between 2004 and 2008.

Mr Hart, who has worked for Doncaster Council for more than six years, said: "I have worked through some really tough times and have also been part of some great achievements and successes.

"I am stepping down for personal reasons. Doncaster has great potential and great people that I have been privileged to work with.

"I thank them for their continuing hard work and wish them all the best in the challenges that lie ahead."

Case reviews

The Mayor of Doncaster, Peter Davies, said: "I have the utmost respect for Mr Hart and I have seen for myself the huge amount of dedication and commitment he gives to the council. I am sorry to see him leave but I fully understand his reasons and I wish him the very best."

Doncaster Council has been hit by severe criticisms of child protection procedures in serious case reviews, which have been ordered into the deaths of seven vulnerable children in the area since 2004.

In December 2009, the council was rated poor and its children's services branded one of the worst performers in England in a review by the Audit Commission.

And in September 2009, the council said it was carrying out a serious case review after two brothers in care viciously attacked two boys in Edlington, near Doncaster.

After the Audit Commission's report, Mr Davies said it did not "convey an accurate picture".

Mr Hart will leave the post on 15 January.

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