Work and Income boss Janet Grossman has quit less than a year after being head-hunted from the UK, amid controversy over the Government's welfare reforms.

Grossman was recruited in July last year from Britain's Pensions Service.

Like all top bureaucrats, Grossman was entitled to up to $50,000 relocation costs from the State Services Commission to help pay for flights, freight costs, up to eight weeks' accommodation and visa expenses.

Public Service Association national secretary Brenda Pilott thought the abrupt departure was the result of high pressure surrounding welfare reforms.


"The speculation I'd heard is to do with the board that's been put in place to oversee the reforms," she said.

The board was appointed by Social Development Minister Paula Bennett to oversee changes, which are largely based on the report of the Welfare Working Group which was chaired by consultant Paula Rebstock.

Pilott said: "I had heard that Janet was somewhat surprised to find out about the board as it wasn't quite what she believed she had been recruited for. She came out here to discover that Paula Rebstock is running Work and Income."

Ministry of Social Development chief executive Brendan Boyle confirmed Grossman resigned this week and left the office on Friday. "Janet has taken the difficult decision to resign as she puts her family's needs first and returns to the United Kingdom."