UPDATED: Politician who said ‘I will not rest’ over failing children’s department quits

Angela Macpherson

Angela Macpherson

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The councillor tasked with turning around Bucks’ failing children’s services following a damning Ofsted inspection has stepped down.

Angela Macpherson, portfolio holder for children’s services at Bucks County Council, steps aside for ‘personal reasons’ after just 18 months in charge.

The Ofsted report – which said the council was putting children at risk of harm – was released in August and she told The Bucks Herald her task of returning to a ‘good’ rating was ‘abundantly clear’.

She said: “I will not rest until this has happened.”

Council leader Martin Tett said it was a surprise she had steppe down and admitted he tried to persuade her to stay but ‘fully understands’ her reasons.

He said: “The reality is that we all have personal situations that we value and she had to do what was best for her family – I think anyone would have done the same.

“I thought she brought a dynamism to a very important area. She is a very capable individual and a significant contribution to the talent of the county council.”

Mr Tett said deputy leader Mike Appleyard will cover the job until a replacement is found but remains confident that improvements will be made.

He said: “We will turn it around. However, I wouldn’t want to give the message that we are complacent. There is a lot to do and it will be very challenging. It’s a very, very demanding position which is very hungry for one’s time.

“It’s not a job that you can give a bit of a steer to once in a while. It’s a massive commitment, to an area that effects hundreds of vulnerable children.

“So I want to bring in someone who can do the job and see it through. I am not in any rush.”

Former Ofsted inspector David Johnston will be Sue Imbriano’s successor but will take on a newly formed role as managing director of children’s social care and learning.

Mr Johnston has already drawn up an improvement plan for the department which was approved by councillors at cabinet on Monday and will be submitted to Ofsted by November 21.

He will take charge on December 1 when interim officer Trevor Boyd takes up the newly formed role of managing director of adults, health and communities.