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Concerns raised over new Brighton and Hove children's director
2:00pm Wednesday 19th September 2012 in News
Concerns have been raised about the suitability of a newly-appointed council executive.
Union leaders have expressed unease at the appointment of Heather Tomlinson as interim children’s director at Brighton and Hove City Council.
The council announced Ms Tomlinson has joined the council as a replacement for outgoing strategic director Terry Parkin who is to leave in October.
She had held an interim role at Birmingham City Council in 2010 on £1,000 a day.
Council officials said that Ms Tomlinson’s wage was still under negotiation.
She will report directly to acting chief executive Catherine Vaughan.
The council’s recruitment strategies have recently been criticised after they spent more than £30,000 on the recruitment of a new chief executive.
In 2009 Ms Tomlinson took early retirement from her £120,000-a-year job at Bristol City Council.
At the time of her leaving, local Labour MP Dan Norris said Ms Tomlinson’s period in charge had been an “unfortunate chapter” for Bristol.
Later, a damning report from Cambridge Education said that the council should have foreseen and acted quicker over a shortage of hundreds of primary school places in the city.
A £90 million scheme to hive off more than 450 jobs in Bristol’s education and children’s services to a private organisation was put on hold after her departure and was later scrapped.
Alex Knutsen, from Unison, said: “We lose the strategic directors and appoint someone with a record of privatisation.
“We are concerned about how much she will be paid as interim director.
“I hope she doesn’t bring her privatisation ideas with her because they will receive a short response from Unison.”
A Brighton and Hove City Council spokeswoman said: “The post of interim director of children's services is essential for the safeguarding of children in Brighton and Hove.”
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