Havering loses two top officers

Two high-ranking council officers were given fond farewells by councillors during Full Council on Wednesday, after it was announced they were leaving their posts.

Long-standing legal advisor Christine Dooley joined the authority nearly 30 years ago, qualifying as a solicitor during her early years at the council, and quickly rising through the ranks to become assistant chief executive, legal & democratic services.

Taking early retirement, Cllr Michael White, leader of the council said she would be “missed by each and every one of us.”

Former social worker Andrew Ireland, group director of social care and learning, moves on to become corporate director of families and social care for Kent.

He joined the council in 2006 and is credited with reversing the fortunes of the council’s once-dire social services.

Cllr Michael White said of Andrew: “They always say the good get poached; this is a good example. He has completely transformed our children’s services department.

“We had a failing social services department and we were in a bit of a state. We decided he was the man for the job.

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“It has gone from the bad old days where we were zero-rated, not much good was said about us, to being one the highest performing children’s services in the country; four-star education services, three star social service.”

Cllr Gillian Ford, of the Residents’ Association added: “Credit should be given to the support he has given to special needs children.”

While Cllr Keith Darvill, leader of the Labour group, thanked both for their “sterling work” and “fine professionalism”.