SOCIAL services chief and Redditch councillor Philip Gretton has stood down after eight years.

Coun Gretton, cabinet member for adult social care, stepped down earlier this week.

The decision means that there will now be nine members in Worcestershire County Council's cabinet, in line with the council's commitment to reduce the number of cabinet members.

His role will be taken over by councillor John Campion, cabinet member for localism and communities.

Leader of the county council Adrian Hardman said: "Philip decided that after eight years in office he did not intend to continue holding responsibility for adult social care, even if re-elected in May.

“So he and I agreed that an early handover would help to provide continuity in this important role."

As well as being a key decision maker as a member of cabinet, coun Gretton, an accountant by profession, was assistant to the cabinet member for social services from 2002 to 2003 and chairman of Health Overview and Scrutiny between 2003 and 2005.

Mr Hardman added: "I would like to thank Philip for his commitment and dedication during his time as a cabinet member for the county council, but more importantly I'd like to acknowledge the enormous passion that he has shown for well-being of the service users and residents that benefit from the services within his cabinet area.

“At a time when consultation and tough decision-making have become ever more important to the residents of Worcestershire, Philip has embraced this and always tried to put the service user at the heart of the decision.”

Coun Gretton will be standing for re-election to the county council in May as a Conservative candidate for Redditch South.