THE letter of resignation informing Wirral Council's child safeguarding improvement board that its chairwoman was quitting the post has been leaked to the Wirral Globe.

Government-appointed troubleshooter Eleanor Brazil sent shockwaves through the town hall this week when she stood down from the crucial job.

The board had been set up to urgently transform child protection after a highly-critical Ofsted inspection revealed "widespread and serious failings."

Ms Brazil's letter explains the way director of children's services Julia Hassall's departure had been handled - following a child sexual exploitation court case - had left her "shocked and appalled."

She accuses unnamed council chiefs of announcing Ms Hassall's resignation BEFORE she had made up her mind to do so, writing: "This is a shoddy way to do things."

And although progress has been made in turning around the department "there are also clearly some significant corporate issues hindering the ability of the service to be more efficient."

Here is her letter in full...

To all members of the Improvement Board,

It is with genuine regret that I am writing to let you know that I have just informed Eric Robinson [council chief executive] of my decision to resign as the independent chair of the Improvement Board, with immediate effect.

I have given this a great deal of thought as I have enjoyed chairing the Board and seeing evidence of progress.

In my view the Board has in recent months helped drive change and bring assurance particularly to partners, members and the DFE.

I hope it will continue to do so. My suggestion to Eric, in the immediate future, is to ask Tony Crane if he is able and willing to take on the role of chair.

I recognise that members had obviously lost confidence in Julia as Director and it is of course up to the Council what they want to do about that.

However what I am appalled about is the shocking way this was handled with no thought given to ensuring the safety of the service and achieving a dignified and planned exit for Julia as a very longstanding and much respected senior employee of the Council.

I understand that partners and members were told she was resigning during the weekend when she had not yet made up her mind to do this.

This is a shoddy way to do things.

It is for this reason that I feel I cannot continue.

As you may know, I was part of the Ichange management skills analysis project and in that capacity interviewed, with 2 others, nine senior and middle managers in children's social care.

I was impressed by the commitment and knowledge of many of them and am confident that with the right support they will continue to drive forward progress.

However we know that the service faces many challenges and there are also clearly some significant corporate issues hindering the ability of the service to be more efficient.

I would hope that the recommendations from this work will be considered and responded to.

I do hope that under new leadership the service continues to make progress. Finally can I thank you all for your attendance at the Board in the past 7 months while I have been chair, and your participation and contributions.

I have greatly enjoyed working with you all and wish Wirral much success going forward. 

Regards, Eleanor.

The board was set up in the wake of national watchdog Ofsted's inspection in September of last year when it gave the department its lowest possible rating – “inadequate.”

Ms Brazil - commissioner for children's social care and advisor at the Department for Education - was appointed chairwoman in January, and has an impressive track record.

She was made interim deputy director of Haringey's children and families services following the killing of Peter Connelly - also known as "Baby P" - after social workers missed multiple signs of abuse.

She also led an inquiry at Birmingham City Council after a seven-year-old child starved to death under their watch.