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Replacement for Manchester’s Sir Howard Bernstein revealed

The current chief executive of Wakefield Council will take over the helm at Manchester City Council, replacing Sir Howard Bernstein as he retires after a 45-year career.

Joanne Roney has headed Wakefield since 2008, and before that worked as director of housing at Kirklees Council and executive director with responsibility for housing, communities and adult care services at Sheffield City Council. She was awarded an OBE for services to local government in 2009 (pictured).

Roney said: “Manchester is a confident and dynamic city and this in an exciting time for anyone to be joining Manchester council.

“I’m honoured to be in line for this prestigious role and looking forward to building on the legacy created by Sir Howard and playing my part, alongside Sir Richard and the wider team, in shaping the next phase of Manchester and Greater Manchester’s journey.”

Sir Howard, who was knighted for his services to Manchester in 2003, oversaw the devolution deal, as well as the city’s regeneration after the 1996 IRA bombing and the 2002 Commonwealth Games.

Roney will doubtless have her work cut out in the new role. Manchester is the flagship of the government’s devolution reforms, and is the only combined authority in the country to have power over healthcare. It is due to hold its first mayoral election in May.

Last week, Sir Howard warned a House of Lords committee that cuts to social care funding could “gnaw away” at ambitious plans to integrate the city’s health and social care services.

Sir Richard Leese, leader of Manchester City Council, said: “We were hugely impressed at interview by Joanne’s drive, strategic vision and determination to ensure that all Manchester residents can be part of the city’s success story.

“We don’t shy away from the fact that there are still significant challenges ahead to connect all of Manchester’s communities with the opportunities being created here and I have no doubt that this will be right at the top of the new chief executive’s agenda.”

(Image c. Johnny Green from PA Archive and PA Images)

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