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13.07.18

New hope for struggling Northamptonshire as ‘exceptional’ CEO hired to fix finances

A woman who last week decided to step down from her top job at Trafford after clashing with the authority’s new Labour leadership has been appointed CEO of what has been branded the country’s worst-run council.

Theresa Grant, who stepped down as chief executive in early July following the establishment of Trafford Council’s new administration and leader, will take the reins of the once-bankrupt Northamptonshire County Council.

She is due to take charge of the local authority at the end of the month on a two-year contract, taking over from Andrew Quincey, who resigned last week.

Quincey had been working under government-appointed commissioners since May this year as a result of the Northamptonshire’s extreme financial struggles. The council, which was effectively declared bankrupt early this year, became the first authority in the country to issue a spending ban and eventually had to empty out all its cash reserves in order to stay afloat.

The interview panel for Grant’s appointment was led by the government commissioners and the recruitment process was supported by the LGA.

Northamptonshire’s leader, Cllr Matthew Golby, said she was “a preferred candidate who I have no doubt has the experience, skills, leadership and expertise which we require.”

“There was an exceptional field of candidates for this role and we now look forward to moving through the next two years and the transition to unitary governance with such a distinguished chief executive in role,” added Golby.

Lead commissioner Tony McArdle had similarly positive comments about Grant, describing her as an exceptional CEO and the “right person to lead the organisation as improvements are put in place to deliver better financial management, governance and ultimately service outcomes.”

According to the BBC, the cash-strapped authority – which will have to sell the historic Grade II-listed 18th-century County Hall which contains a number of council offices – recently wrote to 3,400 staff members asking if they would be interested in voluntary redundancy.

It is also in the midst of reorganisation, with plans in place to replace it with two new unitary councils in 2020.

Top image c. Hazel Nicholson

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