The former head of Halton’s children’s department who left following a succession of damning Ofsted inspections and a £10m department overspend received a payout from the council of almost £100k, the World can reveal.

Figures contained in the authority’s recently-published draft annual accounts show Milorad Vasic was paid £99,999 when he left the authority earlier this year.

Mr Vasic departed in March after more than six years at the helm. His tenure coincided with the department receiving a succession of scathing Ofsted inspections, with the department also running up a budget overspend of £10m. Shortly after leaving Halton he was appointed director for children’s services at Westmorland and Furness Council.

According to Halton Council's website, John Wilson​ is currently the department's interim executive director, but Zoe Fearon was recently appointed as Mr Vasic's full time replacement and is due to start at the end of October.

She has served as director of children’s social care at Salford City Council since 2019, but prior to that had worked at Halton Council for 20 years.

The troubled Halton children's directorate has been under intense scrutiny in recent years.  In March 2020, Government watchdog Ofsted found the department required improvement.

A subsequent inspection in November 2021 found the situation had further  deteriorated, highlighting ‘significant weaknesses’ in social work practice and shortfalls in management oversight and supervision that inspectors said had ‘failed to safeguard and promote children’s welfare’. With the council being issued with a formal order to improve.

Another visit by inspectors in January this year found things had since improved, with the work of the then new Halton Council chief executive Stephen Young being singled out by inspectors as a positive.

But matters took another turn in February when it was revealed that the department had gone £10m over budget.

A report recently published by Halton Council said leadership changes had caused 'turbulence' at the department and said a 12-week improvement plan had been put in place to try and get it back on track.