Director of Norfolk County Council’s children’s services Michael Rosen resigns

Michael Rosen, director of Childrens Services at County Hall.

Michael Rosen, director of Childrens Services at County Hall. - Credit: Archant

The head of the beleaguered children's services department at Norfolk County Council, Michael Rosen, has resigned today with immediate effect.

Mr Rosen joined the council as an interim assistant director for early help in 2013 and became director in September 2015.

'Children's services in Norfolk has come a long way and is a very different service from when I started,' he said. 'I'm pleased that inspectors have seen improvement in all the areas they reviewed, but there is still more to do and members have indicated a desire for a change in our approach.

'In my view the immediate improvement priorities for Children's Services need a Director with a different skill set if the continuing challenges in that part of our service are to be addressed at the pace Norfolk's children deserve. 'The urgency with which these challenges need resolving has led to my decision to create space for a new director to be brought in as soon as possible. I am sure that the talented and committed staff of the department will respond positively in maintaining their current focus on rapid improvement at all levels with continued support from members and corporate leadership for the direction of travel. '

Publication of the quarterly monitoring letter by Ofsted Inspectors this week highlights signs of improvement in social care services for children in Norfolk but also says services are not yet consistently 'good enough' across the board and the overall pace of improvement remains slow.

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The council's child protection services were first branded 'inadequate' by Ofsted in February 2013, and by June they said the council's support for school improvement was 'ineffective'.

At that time the director of children's services, Lisa Christensen, announced she would step down following pressure from Norfolk MPs.

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In August of that year Sheila Lock was appointed interim director of children's services. She was replaced in September 2015 by Mr Rosen at which time the inspectorate said the department remained inadequate.

Last August an independent report was published from Essex County Council's Dave Hill, who said he was concerned about the 'focus and pace of leadership' at the department.

Dr Wendy Thomson, MD of Norfolk County Council, said the decision for Mr Rosen to depart had been formed over the days since the Ofsted monitoring report. 'He was not under pressure to leave and he enjoyed the full confidence of myself and others,' she said. 'Neither was he given a huge amount of money to leave, he gets no severance as he resigned. 'I think the thing he was feeling he could not do was addressing the consistency of social practice in the child protection service. Someone with a social work qualification was best placed to do that. 'Michael was disappointed with the comment about the disappointing rate of change, because we have to move quickly in children's services.'

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