Kingston Council's former director of children’s services, who resigned days before a damning child protection report was made public, was given a year’s salary as a payoff, the Surrey Comet has learned.

Duncan Clark was paid £128,000 after his resignation in July, despite Kingston Council leader Councillor Derek Osbourne’s claim the “final responsibility” for the failures lay with Mr Clark.

In one case, a vulnerable young person regularly went missing despite information she was putting herself at considerable risk, while in another the council did not deal properly with a domestic violence murder.

Jonathan Isaby, political director of the TaxPayers’ Alliance and a Kingston resident, described the payment as “eye-watering”.

He said: “If someone resigns from a highly-paid job after serious errors occurred on their watch, they should not expect a penny in return.

“How can it be right that someone gets a year’s salary thrown in for good measure when they quit their job? With finances so tight, the council can ill afford to use residents’ hard-earned cash in this way.

“Kingston residents deserve a proper explanation from the council leadership and chief executive as to how this decision was reached so that we can properly hold them to account.”

Kingston Council chief executive Bruce McDonald declined questions about why he rubber-stamped the pay-off.

A council spokesman said: “The payment made was to bring about a clean break quickly so that we could get on with the job of improvement without delay.

“We consider this was in the interests of children and young people in Kingston and all taxpayers.

"In a case like this the alternative to a compromise agreement would be a contested departure under formal capability procedures would have taken a year or more.

"In addition there would have been the costs of dealing with the investigation, hearings and possibly a tribunal.”

Mr Clark is now assistant children and adult services director at Medway Council in Kent. When contacted by the Surrey Comet he declined to comment.

A source at Kingston Council confirmed part of Mr Clark’s pay off agreement was a confidentiality

The leader of the Conservative Party opposition Howard Jones said the agreement protected council figures and lacked transparency.

He said: “This deal clouds the whole issue and effectively keeps the public in the dark over what actually happened.

“Hopefully when this issue is scrutinised in January we will be able to flush out some of the details into the open.”

When asked at the beginning of last month, Coun Osbourne said he did not know the details of the pay-off, though he said he had signed off Mr Clark’s leaving package.

He said: “All I needed to be sure of was that the one-off payment was the best financial decision for the council, and I was.

“I understand that people will look at this and be angry but knowing what I do I can assure you, however hard it is to believe, this was the best option for the council.”

A cross-party scrutiny panel looking at the recovery efforts following the Ofsted report will take place on January 8.

On the 12 days of Christmas £128,000 gave to me...

12 top of the range climbing frames

11 lollipop ladies

10 teaching assistants

9 street cleaners

8 empty homes redeveloped for homeless families

7 bin men, pictured

6 trainee teachers

5 school buses

4 safeguarding social workers

3 children’s therapists

2 years of electric car chargers

or... a payoff for Duncan Clark