JUST DAYS after coming under pressure for his role in Powys County Council’s Children Services debacle, chief executive Jeremy Patterson has been confirmed as absent due to illness.

A council spokesman confirmed that council leader, Cllr Rosemarie Harris, had told staff on Monday, that Mr Patterson would be absent for several months.

It was stressed to The County Times that this was in no way to be linked to the damning report into the authority’s child services.

David Powell, director of strategic resources, will now be acting chief executive.

At last Thursday’s full council (October 19) meeting Mr Patterson was encouraged by Cllr James WatGibson-Watt, to step aside from the independent board which will steer the recovery of children’s services.

Cllr Gibson-Watt also wanted to see Mr Patterson take no part in the internal investigation into allegations of data tampering at the department.

At last Thursday’s meeting, Mr Patterson, said that the investigation was under way into these issues.

Mr Patterson said: “There are cultural and behavioural issues that need to be addressed.

“I am bitterly disappointed to receive this report and will be looking at the performance management to ascertain what has been missed.”

Dyfed-Powys Police had advised the authority on the investigation.

Cllr Elwyn Vaughan (Glantwymyn) said at the meeting: “This is not a time for headless chickens, this report reflects badly on the whole of the council.

“It brings up the old perception that this is an unruly council.

“I hope the investigation, be it internal or by the police, will bring clarity.”

A spokesman for Powys County Council said: “This was a planned absence, it’s just coincidental and unfortunate that it’s happened now.”