CHILD safety expert Bron Sanders has landed a £500-a-day job in Kirklees.
She has been appointed independent chairwoman of the Kirklees Safeguarding Children Board.
Mrs Sanders – who lives in Upper Denby – is 58 and Australian-born.
She will be paid £500 a day for around 30 days’ work per year.
Kirklees Safeguarding Children Board works with the council, police and NHS to make sure young people are not abused.
The Board is currently working on a serious inquiry report into the case of kidnapped Dewsbury youngster Shannon Matthews.
Mrs Sanders also works for 30 days as independent chairwoman of East Riding Safeguarding Children Board, which is funded jointly by the police, health and education authorities.
She has had the East Riding role for two years and the area covers a mainly rural area.
The Kirklees role was advertised, 21 people applied and five were interviewed.
A Kirklees spokesman said of the £500-a-day pay rate: “It is in line with posts with similar responsibilities throughout the country.
“This pay rate is actually towards the lower end of the consultants’ rate and Bron is paid only for the days she works for us.’’
Last year Mrs Sanders helped draw up a report into Kirklees Council’s child protection record.
The £21,000 study – by the Kirklees Safeguarding Commission – praised the council’s work in preventing harm to children, working with families and supporting newly-qualified social workers.
The cost was due to external consultants Mrs Sanders and Martin Manby being brought in. Mr Manby is director of the Nationwide Childrens Research Centre which is based at Huddersfield University and promotes high quality research to improve the quality of life of children.
It was posted on the council website in November.
The independent report commended the council for many examples of good practice, including preventive and child protection work with families, sound procedures and support for newly-qualified social workers.
A Kirklees Council spokesman said: “The report by the Kirklees Safeguarding Commission was not a government requirement. The Commission was formed by the council due to a growing national focus on the protection of children and its remit was to examine standards of work in all areas of safeguarding.
“The Commission considered over 1,000 pages of information and praised social workers and other practitioners for their commitment and commonsense approach when supporting families with complex problems.
“The Commission’s independent report held up a mirror to services in Kirklees and heard evidence from over 100 people, including more than 50 frontline child protection workers, 20 headteachers and representatives of the Kirklees Safeguarding Children Board.’’
He added: “The report is among a range of practice audits carried out as part of a process of continuous review and learning.
“These audit processes focus specifically on regular reviews and case files. They are refreshed and implemented with immediate effect and their outcomes are regularly monitored through existing performance management arrangements, both by the Directorate for Children and Young People and agencies who are part of the Children’s Trust including health, police and voluntary organisations.’’
Mrs Sanders said: “I am looking forward to taking up the post and leading the work to promote the welfare of young people across Kirklees.
“It is an interesting time to take up the post and with the professionals involved in Kirklees I am keen that we continue to learn from good practice across the sector, stay focused on key priorities, and ensure continued excellent outcomes for all children.”
Mrs Sanders has worked for councils in Leeds, Bradford, Sheffield and the East Riding of Yorkshire.
She was also involved with troubled Doncaster Council.
Seven children who came into contact with the council’s social services died between October 2004 and May 2009.
In 2007, as the council’s specialist change director, Mrs Sanders wrote a 36-page report about the reorganisation of child protection in Doncaster.
Mrs Sanders warned that the changes had had a “devastating” effect on the service and that the filing system was “seriously inadequate” with numerous cases of files going missing.
Her report found that the morale of Doncaster social workers was “extremely low” with many “openly distressed” when she interviewed them.
After Mrs Sanders’ confidential report was sent to top council officials and elected representatives five of the seven children died.