Wakefield Council directors step down as serious case reviews launched

Elaine McHale

Elaine McHale

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TWO senior directors have stepped down from Wakefield Council after four serious case reviews into the deaths of children were launched.

The Corporate Director of Adult Services, Sam Pratheepan, has resigned.

And the Corporate Director of Family Services, Elaine McHale, has retired with immediate effect.

Wakefield Council has refused to confirm or deny their departures are linked to a serious case review involving the murder of five-year-old Haroon Bhatti.

His father Pazeer Ahmed, of Aberford Road, Wakefield, was jailed for life at Leeds Crown Court yesterday.

Edwina Harrison, Independent Chair of the Wakefield and District Safeguarding Children Board, said: “This is a tragic case involving the death of a little boy who had his whole life in front of him.

“We are conducting a serious case review to ensure that any possible lessons which can be learned from this case are learned and put into practice in the interests of safeguarding children in this district.”

All the other serious case reviews involve the deaths of children, who the Express cannot name for legal reasons.

Elaine McHale left her post three weeks ago.

Joanne Roney, chief executive of the council, said: “After 12 years working with Wakefield Council, Elaine McHale, Corporate Director – Family Services has retired which is something that Elaine and I have been discussing for a while, and I respect her decision.

“I would like to thank Elaine for her contribution during her time in Wakefield and I, along with other Council colleagues, wish her well for the future.”

A spokesman for Wakefield Council said an interim corporate director had been found and an announcement would be made in the near future.

The results of the serious case review into the murder of Haroon are expected to be published in the coming weeks.