Opposition unhappy over Falkirk Council’s social work appointment

Falkirk Council's reported appointment for the post of head of adult social services caused controversy
Falkirk Council's reported appointment for the post of head of adult social services caused controversy

Falkirk Council’s reported appointment of an interim head of social work adult services is causing controversy among opposition members.

The local SNP Group has concerns over the method of recruitment and questions the choice of appointee – Deirdre Cilliers, the former head of social services at Clackmannanshire Council who retired from her post in 2013.

Mrs Cilliers was suspended by the Clackmannanshire local authority in 2012 while an internal investigation was carried out.

The probe followed Sheriff David Mackie’s public criticism of the social work team Mrs Cilliers was in charge of, stating there were “fundamental systemic failures” and a culture of poor record keeping.

A council insider said: “Not one internal candidate has come forward. Instead we have an appointed hand-picked senior officer who hardly has a glowing record of managing a small service in a small authority.”

It is understood Mrs Cilliers would be in post until October when arrangements for a new head of adult social work services are expected to be advanced.

Cecil Meiklejohn, SNP Group Leader, said: “I was astonished to learn the administration had sought to use delegated powers to make this appointment without even informing the opposition.

“Social work services play an important role in the lives of many of our most vulnerable people. For there to be so little transparency and ability to scrutinise the process and the prospective candidate’s abilities and record.”

A Falkirk Council spokesperson said: “Recruitment for the interim post has been undertaken through our normal procedures and we are currently carrying out pre-employment checks before a formal offer of employment is made for this post.”