Councillor in charge of turning around Northamptonshire’s vulnerable children services quits

Councillor Catherine Boardman.
Councillor Catherine Boardman.

The Northamptonshire County Council cabinet member for children and education has announced she is quitting as a councillor to concentrate on her business.

Councillor Catherine Boardman (Con, Brixworth), who joined the cabinet in October 2012, said she wanted to concentrate on her farming company in Welford.

County council leader Jim Harker announced the news of Councillor Boardman’s resignation at a cabinet meeting and paid tribute to Councillor Boardman’s work over the past two years.

Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors also praised her portfolio work, which began in the aftermath of the ‘inadequate’ rating by Ofsted inspectors.

She was handed her cabinet role when the formerly-combined adult and and children’s portfolio was split in late 2012, when it was becoming obvious that the county’s children’s services were not fit for purpose and needed greater focus.

The resignation comes two months after Kevin Crompton, who was the independent chair of Northamptonshire’s local children’s safeguarding board (LSCB), left for a job in Bedford.

But Councillor Brendan Glynane (Lib Dem, Delapre), the Liberal democrat group leader, said the turnaround was not complete: “We considered Catherine to have a good grasp of a very difficult brief, but we can understand in the difficult economic climate that she has to give her full attention to her business.

“However, the next member for children and education should not think the job is finished. In my opinion that is two or three years away, and not before the council is told it can stop reporting directly to Government.”

The new cabinet member for children and education will be announced a full council meeting tomorrow (Thursday).

The details of the by-election for Councillor Boardman’s Brixworth seat will be announced by the council soon.