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New boss named as Walsall Council defends cost

Walsall | News | Published:

The identity of a new troubleshooter brought in to lead Walsall Council's under-fire children's services was today revealed – as bosses were forced to defend the cost.

The identity of a new troubleshooter brought in to lead Walsall Council's under-fire children's services was today revealed – as bosses were forced to defend the cost.

Rose Collinson will take up the role of children's services boss on Monday. She will be given the task of improving the care and safeguarding of vulnerable children after a damning Ofsted report rated it inadequate.

"My focus is to ensure that staff, partners and stakeholders achieve the very best for our children, families and adults while progressing service value," she said.

Ms Collinson replaces Pauline Pilkington, who stepped down in the wake of last month's report.

She has previously worked as director of children's services at Medway Council in Kent, which she led out of special measures to become a well-performing authority.

It comes after the Express & Star revealed Ms Collinson will cost almost £1,000 day, with more than £200 of that going to the recruitment agency.

Working a five-day week, she will cost the council £220,000 a year and take home around £170,000.

Union chiefs have today criticised the move at a time when 97 jobs are going due to savings of £12.8 million this financial year.

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But council leaders have defended the costs for what they say is one of the most "difficult, onerous and specialist" jobs at the council.

Leader Mike Bird said: "The daily rate is less than the going rate of many of the candidates looked at."

It has also been revealed outgoing boss Mrs Pilkington was paid a £5,739 performance- related bonus last year, on top of a salary of £114,328, expenses of £2,670 and pension payments of £14,360. Councillor Bird said she had met targets for the service in 2010/11.

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