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Call for restructuring as education chief quits
3:00pm Friday 15th February 2013 in News
THE Thurrock Conservative group spokesman for education, children and social care has said he does not believe the council’s outgoing director of people services should be replaced.
Cllr James Halden believes the exit of Jo Olsson, announced last week, is a chance to take out “another layer of council bureaucracy”.
Her responsibilites involved heading up the council’s department for education, child and social care, public protection and health.
The director, who joined Thurrock in 2009, is returning to London to take over as director of children, Schools and Families at Camden.
She earned more than £130,000 a year, making her the authority’s highest paid director.
It has not been an easy year for the people’s services in the borough, particularly in the areas of education and child and social care.
Ofsted said in November that the borough’s primary schools are currently in the bottom three nationally and in recent weeks it, was revealed that just ten cared-for children are costing the cash-strapped council £2million.
But the council’s chief executive Graham Farrant has congratulated Ms Olsson on her time at the council and said he is working on interim arrangements for after her departure at the end of March.
He said: “I would like to thank Jo for her unstinting work for the people of Thurrock in very difficult times.
"Jo has handled the pressures of a very wide portfolio of responsibilities during a period of unprecedented policy change and budget savings in style and will leave Thurrock very well placed for the future.
“I will be very sorry to lose Jo. She has made a huge contribution in Thurrock.”
Cllr Halden said this is a good opportunity to restructure and spend in excess of £100,000 less on a senior staff member.
He said: “I won’t be supporting anything that involves a new director of people’s services.
“It gives us the opportunity to look at the department, which is currently big and expensive. It’s an inefficient structure.”