Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham children's services new boss appointed

Alastair Gibbons Image copyright Birmingham City Council
Image caption Alastair Gibbons will take up the new role from 2 February, the council said

A new boss to lead Birmingham's troubled children's services has been appointed, two weeks after the previous candidate quit before starting.

Alastair Gibbons will replace Bernie McNally, who was due to fill the job next month.

Interim director Eleni Ioannides will head the department until Mr Gibbons takes up the new role on 2 February.

The city's troubled children's services department has been rated inadequate since 2008.

'Challenge'

A number of high-profile child deaths - including Khyra Ishaq in 2008 and Keanu Williams in 2011 - have also led to serious case reviews.

Mr Gibbons will report to the council's director of people Peter Hay, who has overseen children's services since September 2013.

Image copyright WEST MIDLANDS POLICE
Image caption A serious case review into the death of Keanu Williams in January 2011 heavily criticised all agencies involved in his care

He said he was "honoured" to be offered the "key post".

"This will be a challenge and an opportunity to build more effective social work services that will meet the needs of children and support their families," he said.

Birmingham City Council said Mr Gibbons had helped improve children's services in Essex, which was upgraded from inadequate to good this year.

He has also held roles in Leicestershire and Milton Keynes.

Earlier this month the council said it was "disappointed" when Ms McNally said she was "no longer interested in taking up the role".

Image copyright Birmingham City Council
Image caption Bernie McNally said she was "no longer interested in the role" earlier this month

It said she left by "mutual agreement", but the reasons for her departure have not been revealed.

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