Two senior directors have stepped down from Wakefield Council’s family services department in the wake of four serious case reviews being launched.
The council yesterday (Oct 25) confirmed it is currently working on the serious case reviews, weeks after its director of family services Elaine McHale retired after 12 years in the post.
Meanwhile, it has emerged one of five service directors in the same department working under her resigned last week.
A council spokeswoman would not confirm or deny if the decision by both directors to step down was linked in any way with the serious case reviews - one of which relates to five-year-old Haroon Bhatti, whose father Pazeer Ahmed was yesterday jailed for his murder.
Edwina Harrison, independent chair of the Wakefield and District Safeguarding Children Board, said: “This is a tragic case involving the death of a little boy who had his whole life in front of him.
“We are conducting a serious case review to ensure that any possible lessons which can be learned from this case are learned and put into practice in the interests of safeguarding children in this district.”
The latest Ofsted report into the council’s safeguarding services, published in January 2011, awarded an overall effectiveness of adequate, although it found joint investigations between social care and the police required further strengthening. The report acknowledged there had been progress in tackling seven areas for development, but warned further improvement is needed regarding “quality and timeliness of contacts, referrals and assessments”.
It also said a “significant” number of children in need cases remain unallocated, despite being adequately risk assessed.