New £135,000-a-year People Director unveiled by council

7:50am Friday 1st February 2013

THIS is the face of the new leader of a controversial new post created after children’s and adults services were merged.

Alison Elliott, currently working in a London borough overseeing disabled children’s services, is expected to take up her £135,000 role as People Director in April.

But as she takes up the position, the Daily Echo understands the city’s much praised head of children’s services, Clive Webster, will be made redundant or redeployed.

Under Mr Webster, more 11- year-olds are passing vital tests in English and maths than ever before and GSCE results have gone from rock bottom to close to the national average.

Yet his job will now disappear and be merged with the adult services role to create the new position which he lost out to Ms Elliot.

But, as previously reported, the recruitment process came under fire for not mentioning the role of education in the job description.

Critics were concerned that the successful candidate would lack experience in running schools and colleges.

Last night city bosses announced the appointment of Ms Elliott and detailed her wealth of social work experience – although no mention was made of any experience in education.

But city leader Cllr Richard Williams insisted the right candidate had been hired to perform the dual role.

He said: “Alison has a wealth of knowledge and experience and will, I am sure, be an asset to the city council and the city. We look forward to Alison leading and delivering the transformation required for the delivery of sustainable services to our residents.

“We are in discussions with Alison about her start date but Alison is keen to attend key meetings b e f o r e then and to familiarise herself with Southampton.”

Clive Webster said last night: “Clearly I am very disappointed but I would like to thank everyone for the tremendous progress we have made. The future of all Southampton’s children and young people is much brighter as a result and I wish my successor every success in taking the progress forward.”

Dawn Baxendale, Interim Chief Executive said: “We look forward to Alison being part of the council’s senior management team and working together to transform services and establish the new directorate.”

Ms Elliott said: “I am excited about the opportunity to bring a wide range of services together and transform them in order to improve outcomes for children, adults and families in greatest need.”

But questionmarks remain over whether the scope of the role was made clear when the job was advertised.

Conservative group education Cllr Jeremy Moulton said: “My criticism of the situation was that it was not clear that education was part of the job before we went out to market to recruit.

“I think the whole thing has been a shambles.”

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