Herefordshire Council's director for children and young people services Darryl has quit “with immediate effect” – a move coinciding with further official criticism of the department.

The latest report of a monitoring inspection last month by Ofsted, which focussed on older children and those who have left the service, concluded that “plans to improve services have not led to sufficient positive impact” for these groups.

“The quality of practice remains inconsistent, and children in care experience too many changes of social worker,” it went on.


“Some young people, often with more complex needs, are in unsuitable or unstable accommodation,” some “without sufficient support”, while promises made by council leaders to care leaver representatives “have not been delivered”.

It acknowledged that senior leaders “have ensured that significant additional funding has been put into the service and agreed for the next few years”.

“But this has not yet resulted in improvement,” they said.


Mr Freeman joined the council in September 2021, overseeing what the council called "much needed improvements" following a negative court judgement on the department and critical evaluations by inspectors.

The council said the service “has seen the number of Herefordshire children in care reduce, families are now waiting less time for a referral outcome, and resources and support for the reunification of families has increased”.

Its chief executive Paul Walker paid tribute to Mr Freeman, saying: “Darryl has diligently led our children’s services day-to-day while steering significant service transformation.

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“I thank him for his efforts and professionalism during what has been an extremely challenging time.”

Hereford parent and campaigner Maggie Steel said Mr Freeman’s departure was “great news for the county”.

But she said “only half the job has been done” as Mr Walker “needs to go too”.

“Then the children and families in this county have a fighting chance of being treated fairly,” she said.

The council says it has made interim management arrangements while it embarks on selecting and appointing a new director for children and young people services.