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Manchester children's chief quits after 'inadequate' Ofsted report

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Manchester City Council’s strategic director of children’s services is leaving the authority in the wake of a critical Ofsted report.

Mike Livingstone, who had been in the post for three years and had been at the council for eight, will leave at the end of the month.

He said that despite progress being made in areas such as early years, helping troubled families, the creation of the Manchester Youth Council and closing the gap between achievements in its schools and those nationally, it was clear from the recent Ofsted judgement and ongoing budget challenges that “changes are now called for”.

The Ofsted report, published last month, found children’s services at the council to be “inadequate”. This marked a deterioration on the last inspection in 2010, when they were judged “adequate”.

Mr Livingstone said: “There is still much more to be done in the city and I think this calls for a fresh pair of eyes to take the helm of children’s services and see this work through.

“The time is now right for this and I have therefore decided to step down from my role and take a short career break before pursuing other avenues.

“I’d like to express my thanks to all those people I’ve worked with and who have supported me during my time with the council, and I wish them every success in the future.”

Gladys Rhodes White will take over as interim strategic director of children’s services when Mr Livingstone leaves at the end of this month. The council said she was an experienced leader of children’s services with a track record of improving services for children, young people and families.

Sheila Newman (Lab), executive member for children’s services at the council, said: “Mike has achieved a lot during his time in Manchester and we wish him well in his future endeavours.

“We’re agreed however that the time is now right for someone else to take over, to build on the positive changes that have been put in place over the last few months.”

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