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'Pioneer' Wigan Council CEO announces retirement

The chief executive of Wigan Council Donna Hall CBE has announced her retirement, after winning national acclaim for forging a new model of local government during her eight years in charge.

Politicians and senior figures from across the borough have paid tribute to the retiring chief executive, who has said she will step down in summer next year.

Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham called Donna a “public sector pioneer,” praising her work helping shape the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and its new approach to public service delivery.

Hall herself said: “The last eight years have been the best of my working life.

“I have really loved working with all 5,000 of our hard-working, compassionate, amazing staff who have all pulled together despite the cuts to deliver the best possible services for our residents.”

Hall helped create ‘The Deal’ with then leader of Wigan Council Lord Peter Smith to help the council respond to austerity.

The council says this allowed the council to operate against a £160m budget reduction whilst at the same time improving resident satisfaction.

She also had a leading role in the borough’s clinical commissioning group overseeing the health and social care services, and has helped campaign for equality and LGTB rights in Wigan.

David Molyneux, leader of Wigan Council, said: “Donna has given incredible service to Wigan over the past eight years and we certainly wouldn’t be the council we are today without Donna serving as chief executive.

“On behalf of the council, all councillors, staff and the people of the borough I would like to place on record our gratitude to Donna for what has been a remarkable eight years in Wigan.”

Lord Peter Smith was the council’s leader for 27 years, working closely with Donna until he stepped down earlier this year, and he said Hall had made a “terrific difference to the council” and helped improve the lives of its residents.

Donna Hall created the #BelieveInHer campaign to inspire women and girls in Wigan to pursue their ambitions and supported the creation of the Wigan Pride event.

She joined Wigan Council from Chorley Council where she was the chief executive, and has also worked in Blackburn with Darwen and Salford Council.

Dr Tim Dalton, chair of the NHS Wigan Borough CCG, said: “Donna has brought energy to the challenge of integrating health and social care services and I sincerely thank her for her commitment and drive.

“Our shared vision for building up our borough’s communities and putting local people at the heart of everything we do will continue to influence the transformation of local NHS services.”

Cllr Michael Winstanley, leader of the Conservative group on Wigan Council, added: “Personally over the past two years Donna has been very supportive and I know through speaking to councillors throughout Greater Manchester she is very highly thought of across the region.

“She will be a big loss to Wigan Council and on behalf of the group I wish her well for the future.”

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