Blackburn with Darwen Council has announced the appointment of Harry Catherall as the council’s new Chief Executive. This follows the announcement of the retirement of Graham Burgess earlier in the year.
The council has also taken this change in personnel as an opportunity to restructure some of the top posts in the council. Two director posts have been cut and replaced with new director posts that cover the “council’s key functions and priorities”.
The new director posts are titled Place, People and Resources and have been filled by the following existing directors:
Andrew Lightfoot who was previously the Managing Director Local Government will become the Place Director.
The previous Director of Adult Services, Sally McIver becomes the People Director and Denise Park, the Strategic Director of Resources and Transformation becomes the Resources Director.
Gladys Rhodes-White, the Director of Children’s Services & Education will take voluntary redundancy.
The salary of the new Chief Executive has been reduced by £10,000 from that of the previous post holder which was in the pay scale up to £155984.*
Councillor Kate Hollern, leader of Blackburn with Darwen Council, said: “The review took place swiftly and has delivered significant savings. It’s vital that we have a strong management team to navigate the unprecedented challenges faced by the Council. This new structure gives us that. It has clearer lines of responsibility to deliver the priorities and also demonstrates our commitment to keeping management costs down. The savings will help make sure the services people tell us are important; get as much investment as possible.”
Mr Catherall, who started his career in local government as an apprentice 33 years ago, has been a key director at the Council since 1997. He led on the nationally recognised health integration, creating the Care Trust Plus, the pioneering re:fresh free leisure initiative and has helped to deliver massive investment in new schools through the £203m Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.“The Council will remain ambitious, making the most of opportunities and playing to our strengths as we adapt to the changes we face as a Council and borough. We intend to focus on a set of six priorities. All designed to meet the needs of our communities. These are jobs, housing, health and wellbeing, young people, vulnerable people and making money go further, “ he said.
The new chief executive’s appointment was agreed by a panel including the leader of the council, her two deputies, Councillor Mohammed Khan and Councillor Andy Kay, along with the leader of the Conservative Group, Councillor Mike Lee.