Bradford Council's new head of children's services has dramatically quit after only months in the job.

Mark Carriline is leaving the newly-created post next month blaming a long commute to work for his departure.

It leaves the Council with the task of finding someone to fill his shoes as director of services to children and young people - a post required by law.

The Council's chief executive Tony Reeves said: "Mark has been instrumental in the Building Schools for the Future project and the development of the wider children's services agenda in Bradford and I wish him well."

By the time he leaves at the end of December, Mr Carriline will have overseen the start of the first phase of BSF. The authority's social care status has also risen from one star to three during his time in office.

Mr Carriline said: "I would like to say thank you to all the councillors, officers, schools and partners I have worked with over the years for their support. I have always been committed to improving the opportunities for children and young people in the district. I am sure the staff in children's services will build on that."

The 45-year-old, who lives in Stockport, Manchester, joined Bradford Council in 2002 as assistant chief executive with responsibility for education, community and social care. In July he became strategic director of children's services.

Councillor Dale Smith, executive member for education, said: "As champion of all children and young people across the district I will concentrate solely upon their needs and I will be working closely with the leader and chief executive to plug any service gaps until a new director of services for children is in post. In the meantime, I am confident all staff in the service of children can be relied upon to continue to give their dedication and commitment to our young people.

"The future for Bradford district's children and young people is looking rosier and we must not let our foot slip off the accelerator."

But Labour's education spokesman Councillor Ralph Berry, who is also chairman of the Early Years Development and Childcare Partnership, said: "It's a shocking situation. It gives me serious concerns, particularly as he has only recently been appointed. I have always argued for the external advertising of the role because it is a hugely significant one. We want to know what's happened here. This was one of the highest-paid, far-reaching roles in the authority."

A year ago the Telegraph & Argus revealed that Mr Carriline and then education director Phil Green were under internal investigation, believed to be linked to the same personnel issue. Mr Green took early retirement in September and now Mr Carr-iline is to leave with questions remaining over the outcome of the Council's investigation.

Coun Berry said: "Is this how the Council deals with investigations - by allowing the staff involved to leave?"

Liberal Democrat education spokesman Councillor David Ward said: "I was impressed by him and I think he's very intelligent and very experienced.

"He's not a typical officer and is always prepared to give his own independent point of view.

"Some councillors don't feel comfortable with that.

"I am sorry to see him go, particularly as education is struggling at the moment, and we can't afford to lose officers of that calibre."

e-mail: jo.winrow