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Children's services boss who quit after Arthur's death left previous £140k job over safety report


The ex-head of the council department that failed Arthur Labinjo-Hughes announced she was retiring weeks after his murder – but refused to apologise yesterday.


Louise Rees, 60, tendered her resignation to Solihull Council chiefs shortly after the six-year-old’s death sent shockwaves around the children’s services department, sources said.


But she was allowed to keep working, and drawing her £123,000 salary, for another 12 months while a replacement was sought. Mrs Rees refused to apologise when contacted by the Daily Mail.

Louise Rees (pictured), 60, tendered her resignation to Solihull Council chiefs shortly after the six-year-old’s death sent shockwaves around the children’s services department, sources said

The ex-head of the council department that failed Arthur Labinjo-Hughes (pictured) announced she was retiring weeks after his murder – but refused to apologise yesterday


The mother of two grown-up daughters, who was pictured walking her dog near her home in Cheshire, said: ‘I can’t comment at the moment. The case is still in court and it is a matter for the council.’


Mrs Rees is likely to have left with a generous lump sum and an annual pension of at least £40,000. According to her LinkedIn profile, she is currently ‘retired and loving it’.


The career civil servant also left her previous job at Stoke City Council, where she was the £140,000-a-year director of children and family services, a week before it too was lambasted for serious failings.

Mrs Rees is likely to have left with a generous lump sum and an annual pension of at least £40,000. Pictured: Emma Tustin

Ofsted inspectors found that, during Mrs Rees’s tenure, services for children ‘seriously declined’ as a result of ‘poor leadership, management oversight and an absence of performance inspection’.


Children were ‘not being protected’ and ‘widespread and serious failures’ left them at ‘risk of serious harm’.


Although inspectors did not single out individuals for criticism, their report in February 2019 was unequivocal.


‘Leaders and managers failed to recognise and manage risk at every level of the organisation,’ they said.


An inspection in 2015 had noted that services required improvement or were good, and council chiefs had no idea things had got ‘so bad’.


In the wake of the report, government commissioner Eleanor Brazil, who helped turn around Haringey Council in north London following the Baby P scandal, was sent in to review the department.

Pictured: Six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes with father Thomas Hughes and Thomas' partner Emma Tustin. Emma Tustin has been convicted of murder and Thomas Hughes is guilty of manslaughter after a harrowing trial at Coventry Crown Court

Mrs Rees became director of children’s services at Solihull in March 2019. Less than 15 months later Arthur was dead


Although Mrs Brazil accepted the department had been working under budget constraints and frequent changes in senior management had caused disruption, she concluded that previous recommendations had not been implemented and the situation was so grave it would take at least two years to bring services up to scratch.