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02.02.16

Sunderland City Council announces former DCLG high-flyer as interim chief executive

Former DCLG senior civil servant and chief executive of South Tyneside Council, Irene Lucas CBE, is to take up the role of interim chief executive at Sunderland City Council.

The council’s previous boss, Dave Smith, quit in August, not long after an Ofsted report gave children’s services in the city an ‘inadequate’ rating.

Cllr Paul Watson said Lucas had been subject to a “lengthy selection process” and will take up the role from April.

He said: “With previous roles as director general of local government in the Department [for] Communities and Local Government and chief executive at South Tyneside Council, she brings a great deal of experience and skills to the role along with her affinity and knowledge of our city.”

She takes over from head of paid service and finance director, Sonia Tognarelli, who is now retiring after 35 years with the city council.

Cllr Watson said Lucas had been instrumental in turning South Tyneside into one of England’s best-performing councils.

Lucas will be paid “in line” with Smith’s previous basic salary of around £210,000 plus £33,000 in pension contributions, the council said, reflecting her roles and responsibilities.

A spokesperson told local paper the Evening Chronicle: “We are prepared to say that we are confident that the arrangement represents value for money and is in line with our pay policy, which is publicly available on the council website.”

(Photo, top, shows Irene Lucas during her time at DCLG, pictured with Greg Clark MP, now communities secretary)

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