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A question of balance

When Southampton city council reorganised its education and social services, it looked outside to fill its new directorate of children's services.

The final candidate for the job was chosen for his past experience, which straddled the two fields. Clive Webster, 42, assistant chief executive of Surrey county council, is a former teacher who has held senior posts in educational psychology in several education authorities, including the London boroughs of Wandsworth and Hillingdon.

Originally from Harlesden, north-west London, Mr Webster's first job was in Southampton, at what was then Sutherland middle school, now Sinclair primary, before qualifying as an educational psychologist at Southampton university. One of his most recent jobs was as Surrey's head of strategic planning and communication, where he acquired skills he believes will be vital to setting up the new department.

He said: "We need to strike a balance between the implementation of robust preventative measures, intervention where necessary and quick resolutions to acute problems concerning children."

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