Blackpool Council reshuffle after children's services boss steps down

Town hall colleagues have supported a leading councillor's decision to step down from his role.

Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 1:35 pm
Updated Wednesday, 5th February 2020, 1:36 pm

Coun Graham Cain announced on Tuesday he is stepping down from his positions as cabinet member for children's services and deputy leader of Blackpool Council.

Coun Lynn Williams will move from her role as cabinet member for adult social care and health to take over at children's services, while council leader Simon Blackburn will take on responsibility for adult care.

The changes are expected to remain in place at least until the council's annual meeting in May when any reshuffles happen.

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Coun Graham Cain who has stepped down

Coun Lynn Williams said: "I wish to thank Graham for his commitment and I hope to continue with his hard work.

"We know we have challenges but we will continue to do our very best for our children.

"We are going in the right direction. We just have to make sure we continue with that, but we can't rush.

"We have put money into next year's budget to make sure we can deliver, and ensuring children's safety and well-being is the main priority."

New cabinet member for children's services Coun Lynn Williams

Coun Tony Williams, leader of the Conservative group on the council, said Coun Cain had made the right decision.

He said: "I am aware of Coun Cain’s situation and believe he has taken the right decision, not only for his own personal reasons, but to ensure the integrity of this important service.

"I know he will continue to work effectively and diligently in other areas and that he will continue to be an important member of the council."

Measures including recruiting additional social workers are being taken after the council's children's services department was rated 'inadequate' by Ofsted, which has also described the pace of improvement as not fast enough.

Last month Coun Cain is believed to have been suspended from the Labour Party pending the outcome of an investigation thought to be linked to an alleged improper post shared on social media.

In announcing his decision to step down, Coun Cain said he believed it was "in the best interests of the council", particularly in relation to "the importance of the improvement journey we are on with children’s services."

He added: "As such, I feel it would be best for the service and myself that I offer to temporarily step down until a conclusion is reached.”