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AN interim director of social services has been appointed at Ceredigion County Council.

Full council agreed the appointment of Audrey Somerton-Edwards for a six month period on an agency basis to cover the corporate lead officer – Porth Cynnal and statutory director of social services position.

Current post holder Sian Howys is due to retire at the end of October.

Questions were asked at full council on Thursday, October 20 about the use of a panel to appoint to the position, rather than discussions with all councillors, but council leader Cllr Bryan Davies explained it was due to the temporary nature of the role.

He added that he discussed an interim appointment with leaders of the opposition before the panel was held.

Members also heard that Ms Somerton-Edwards had worked with the authority on an agency basis prior to her interview and is a “qualified social worker with significant senior management experience.”

The interim appointment allows for a “comprehensive recruitment campaign to be undertaken” for a permanent position, a report to the meeting adds.

“There are currently well documented recruitment challenges in the social care sector across the UK and at all levels. Following its implementation at the beginning of this year, the Through Age and Wellbeing programme continues to develop and the need for an experienced leader to be able to immediately continue this progress is seen a critical,” it states.

Deputy leader and cabinet member for through age and well-being Cllr Alun Williams gave thanks to Ms Howys for her “staunch work over many years” and praised her ability to work in a “highly capable and professional way at all times.”

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