Croydon Town Hall

Croydon Council recruits Monitoring Officer to oversee legal services

Croydon Council has appointed Stephen Lawrence-Orumwense as permanent Director of Legal Services and Monitoring Officer, as the borough gears up for local elections and a new mayoral system.

Mr Lawrence-Orumwense is set to join the council later this year and joins with a wealth of experience in local government legal and monitoring roles.

For the past decade, he has served as the divisional Head of Legal Services and Deputy Monitoring Officer at Haringey Council and prior to this held a similar role with Sutton Council.

Former Monitoring Officer, John Jones, left Croydon Council at the end of March and has been thanked for his service to the authority.

Croydon Council has also been successful in appointing an interim officer to this role to oversee operations until Mr Lawrence-Orumwense is in position.

Andrew Hunkin will provide interim cover and joins from a Corporate Director of Resources and Monitoring Officer position at South Northamptonshire Council.

Both will in turn be responsible for the statutory Monitoring Officer function, which oversees important constitutional changes, including Croydon’s first elected mayor.

They will guide preparations, which are already under way, for significant changes to Croydon’s governance arrangements as it adopts its new mayoral model.

This position is responsible for ensuring all council work is compliant with the law and best practice, including ensuring financial probity, management and internal control, as well as oversight of democratic services.

The Monitoring Officer provides advice to the council, Cabinet and the Scrutiny and Overview Committee on governance matters, as well as managing investigations into potential breaches by councillors of the Members’ Code of Conduct.

As with all senior managers, the Monitoring Officer is responsible for joint delivery of the council’s ongoing Croydon Renewal Plan to achieve financial stability and is expected to uphold high public service standards.

It is especially important that the Monitoring Officer demonstrates core public sector values of objectivity, openness and honesty in this key oversight role, Croydon Council said.

Commenting, Mr Lawrence-Orumwense said:

“It is great to be returning to south London and especially to join a vibrant council like Croydon. I have been impressed with the dedication of both members and officers that I have observed so far and look forward to working together later this year.

“I am excited to take on my position as Director of Legal Services, as well as the crucial role of Monitoring Officer, particularly as Croydon continues to diligently deliver its ambitious renewal programme on behalf of residents.”

Croydon Council Chief Executive, Katherine Kerswell added:

“I am delighted to welcome Stephen to Croydon, as well as Andrew who has joined us on an interim basis. Both are strong appointments for the borough as we progress towards financial stability and prepare for our first directly elected mayor.

“I look forward to working together as we continue to strive for openness and accountability to all our residents.”

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