'Sometimes you have to do the right thing': Arthur Labinjo-Hughes' cousin reacts to boss quitting

nick page
Nick Page has resigned has quit six months after he told MPs he wasn't going anywhere Credit: Solihull Council/PA

The cousin of Arthur Labinjo-Hughes has welcomed the resignation of the Chief Executive of Solihull Council.

Nick Page has quit his £200,000-a-year job "with immediate effect" days after a damning report into the state of children's services.

Mr Page was in charge of the local authority when six-year-old Arthur Labinjo-Hughes died. News of his departure came in a letter sent to all staff which said he had decided to leave after "34 years in public service".

In the message posted to council employees, he said: "It has been an honour and privilege to serve our elected members and residents. Alongside our parish and town councillors, residents and activists, their support and challenge, guidance and on occasion, patience with me has meant a great deal."

Bernie Dixon, Arthur's cousin, told ITV Central: "Sometimes people have to do the right thing. It's a shame it has come to this but it gives hope for future children in the system as Solihull has been failing for some time.

Bernie Dixon says she hopes Mr Page's departure leads to real change Credit: ITV Central

"As a family member I can say it's brought some slight comfort to know that future decisions will not be made by the same manager. It's a start in the right direction and leaves me questioning are the duty social workers allocated in Arthur's case still in position or are they considering the same?

"It's comforting to see those who really failed are starting to repent and hopefully this is the beginning of a total reform so no other child ever suffers or endures what Arthur did."

Today's announcement by Mr Page comes just six months after he told MPs on the Education Select Committee that he would not resign following Arthur's tragic death after they asked him: "Would it not be the right thing to do for the families?".

The six-year-old was murdered by his stepmother Emma Tustin at their home in Solihull in June 2020 and a report into his death found widespread failures at Solihull local authority.

A report published by Ofsted earlier this month found children in Solihull were still not getting the help they needed. The report which gave the council an 'inadequate' rating deemed staff and management "too slow" - something which led to children experiencing "significant harm".

It followed a national review last year that found that Arthur's family members who expressed concerns about his safety were ignored by social services.

Commenting on the Ofsted report today, Ruth Allen from the British Association of Social Workers said: "It is vital that services are provided with sufficient support as well as challenge to turn aorund when they receive negative inspection from Ofsted and the inevitable public, media and sector scrutiny that terrible children's deaths invoke.

"Services lose valued staff, have difficulties recruiting and struggle to get back on their feet and improve. The people of Solihull need to know services are being brought to the standard they require through the right resourcing, recruitment and retention of able staff, system improvement help and real understanding of local communities."

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