A former social care chief at a Black Country Council has claimed he was sacked for making other departments ‘look bad’ by driving through improvements on his own.
Paul Davies was suspended for 15 months from Walsall Council before his dismissal – and paid more than £138,000 in wages during that period.
The former executive director for social care and inclusion at Walsall Council was sacked in March following an investigation after ‘issues’ were raised in the department.
The council has refused to reveal the circumstances behind his departure – but Mr Davies has been reported as blaming his apparent success in his job for being sacked.
In an interview, Mr Davies has claimed that in his first year at the council, the proportion of service users with a personal budget or direct payment leapt from 10 per cent to 25 per cent, while numbers of disabled people going into residential care plummeted from the highest in England to among the lowest.
After a bad Ofsted report for child safeguarding led to the council being served with a formal improvement notice, Mr Davies claims one senior council officer told him: ‘Slow down, you’re making the rest of us look bad.’
He commissioned an external audit amid fears services were being paid for but were not being delivered.
And he says he came up with the idea to pass all funding for personal budgets to Walsave Credit Union, which would give people the option of handling the cash themselves or letting the credit union act as a carebroker.
Soon after, Mr Davies says he was suspended.
At the time of Mr Davies’ dismissal, Council leader Mike Bird said it had been alleged that Mr Davies had breached the rules set for a chief officer, but would not reveal the full details.
He said the allegations were heard over a period of nearly three weeks and the circumstances were due to procedures, rules and issues surrounding the chief officer’s code of conduct.
Mr Davies said: “I was sacked because I was a threat to the status quo.
“What we were doing in Walsall was creating a proving ground for personalisation – and you can tell from the performance figures that it was working.
“But there’s something here about a can-do attitude in a can’t-do establishment.”
Mr Davies has the right to appeal the decision.
Councillor Bird today refused to comment on the claims and added: “There is a possible appeal pending and and it would not be appropriate to make a comment while that is going on.”