A SENIOR government official at watchdog Ofsted has been appointed Coventry City Council’s new director of children’s services.
John Gregg’s appointment comes at a time of crisis, after Ofsted rated Coventry’s children’s services department “inadequate” after failures relating to the murder of city schoolboy Daniel Pelka.
He has been drafted into to one of three new six-figure salaried directorships at the council in its people’s directorate – which also now has a permanent executive director.
It has prompted councillors’ questions over whether the number of city taxpayer-funded top earners at the council is being reduced in line with dramatic cuts to the rest of the workforce.
Mr Gregg is currently Ofsted’s deputy director for social care regulation.
He started his career working with children outdoors before going on to manage in residential care settings.
Qualifying as a social worker in 1995, his early career was spent working with looked after children and care leavers.
As a senior inspector at Ofsted he was involved in overseeing inspections of help and child protection, looked after children and care leavers in councils.
He said: “I am delighted to be joining Coventry at such an exciting time. Coventry is a place where there is a real opportunity to improve the lives of vulnerable children and young people.
“The commitment of members and senior leaders at a time when resources are scarce is testament to this.
“I look forward to meeting as many children, colleagues and partners as possible when I start my new role. I am really keen to meet as many front line staff as possible so that I can understand what it is like for children living in Coventry”.
Labour councillor Ed Ruane, cabinet member for children’s services, said: “John impressed us all with his focus on and passion for improving children’s lives.
“We’ve delivered many improvements already here but have a lot more to do. John will play a key role in delivering transformation in our services for children in Coventry and help us all make sure we put Coventry children first across all services.”
The council maintains it will save £500,000 with the management restructure, by losing assitant director roles and other jobs further down the structure.