Brighton and Hove children’s chief steps down

Posted On 14 Jan 2019 at 4:00 pm

The chair of the committee that oversees schools and children’s services in Brighton and Hove is to step down.

Councillor Dan Chapman

Councillor Daniel Chapman will return to his previous position as deputy chair of the Brighton and Hove City Council Children, Young People and Skills Committee.

He is expected to share the news with the committee when it meets at Hove Town Hall this afternoon (Monday 14 January).

Councillor Chapman, who is due to leave the council in May, thanked fellow committee members – of all parties and none – as well officials, including the executive director for families, children and learning Pinaki Ghoshal.

His place as committee chair will be taken by fellow Labour councillor Les Hamilton, a retired secondary school teacher.

Councillor Chapman, who has taken on a more time-consuming role in his day job, said: “After thinking carefully over the past few months I have decided to step down as chair of the Children, Young People and Skills Committee.

“I have spoken with the leader of the council and informed him of my intention to step down and have advised that this will be the last time I chair this committee.

“It has been an honour to chair this committee over the past two years, working with you all to achieve the best for children.

“It has been a privilege to represent children and young people across the city – the city where I grew up, went to school and call home.

“Chairing this committee has been a fantastic opportunity for me and one I will always remember fondly.

“Of course, there have been some difficult times, particularly when the topic has been school catchment areas. I’ve never been so recognised on the street

“But I believe this committee has a strong cross-party consensus and the majority of the time we can always find an agreed way forward together.

“I am proud of some of the changes and the progress that has been made over the past few years whether it is
• our recent ILACS (inspection of local authority children’s services) inspection result and the move to good from requires improvement
• that 93 per cent of our schools are rated good or outstanding and that all secondary schools are now rated good and
• changes to the corporate parenting board so that looked after children are better supported

“I will continue to sit on the committee until May. Councillor Les Hamilton will be stepping in as chair of the committee and I will be returning to my role as deputy chair for the remainder of the council session.

“So, finally I would just like to say thank you to all of you around this room, as well as Pinaki and the officers who have made chairing this committee an amazing experience.”

Councillor Les Hamilton

Councillor Chapman stepped up from deputy chair to chair the committee two years ago when his predecessor Councillor Tom Bewick vacated the chair to take up a new job.

Most councillors of working age have paid jobs elsewhere and receive a basic allowance of £12,000 a year for being a councillor, with some receiving special responsibility allowances if they hold a key position such as council leader or chair of a committee.

In the past financial year, only seven of the 54 councillors claimed expenses, ranging from £10 to £166.

The Labour council leader Councillor Daniel Yates said: “Dan has been a fantastic chair of the committee and lead councillor for the last two years.

“Under his leadership we have seen school performance continuing to be well ahead of our peers, and our children’s social care services being rated good by Ofsted.

“I am proud to have worked hard alongside Dan over his years leading this service and I will miss his insight and input enormously.

“I wish him all the best for his new role at work and thank him for his service.

“Until the city council elections in May I will be appointing Councillor Les Hamilton as chair of the committee, with Dan continuing to support the services as deputy chair.

“I know they will make a great ongoing contribution to the city’s young people’s services and lives.”

Councillor Vanessa Brown

Conservative councillor Vanessa Brown, who has served on the committee chaired by Councillor Chapman, said: “We are very sorry you’re not going to be chair any more.

“We have found you very easy and co-operative and enjoyed working with you.”

  1. Christopher Hawtree Reply

    But what is the reason for this?

    • Stephen Frost Reply

      He’s taken on a more time-consuming role in his day job.

    • Jenny Mulligan Reply

      The irony of a campaign to save a library not reading a news article.

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