THE director of Reading Borough Council's (RBC) new arms-length children’s services company has resigned just two months after the company launched.

Stephen Kitchman, director of Children, Education & Early Help Services, took up the post in August 2018 and the new company – Brighter Futures for Children – only went live on December 3.

The department was placed into special measures in 2016 after Ofsted found a string of failures, but follow-up visits have identified substantial progress.

Mr Kitchman sent a letter to colleagues on February 1 informing them that he would be resigning, taking effect on Monday, February 4.

He said:  "I am writing to let you know that after much personal deliberation I have decided to move on from Reading. This has been a difficult decision, especially as there are so many good things happening with a real sense of improvement and opportunity for our service and most importantly we have such a talented workforce in yourselves to take this forward.

"In my time here I have worked to help stabilise our workforce through increased recruitment activity as well as most importantly looking at how we can better retain staff and we have seen improvement on both of these fronts. Although there remains much more to do we have sustained our good performance in many areas, focussed on development priorities and are clear on next steps.

"Our Brighter Futures for Children Company is now established and we have a robust transformation plan, importantly with associated resources, to take us forward. Given this natural juncture it seemed the appropriate time for me to leave, confident in the arrangements now in place to continue our improvement journey, I have agreed with the Brighter Futures Board as such I will be leaving on Monday 4th February.

"Until more permanent arrangements are established, Mark Fowler - head of Education, Lisa Arthey - Deputy Director CSC, Vicky Rhodes - head of Early Help are available for matters within their areas of responsibility and Tony Kildare, Managing Director is available for business related issues outside of this.

"Thank you for all of your support during my time here and I know that with all of your dedication to making the difference our children deserve we will continue to go from strength to strength from here."