Guildford and Waverley borough councils have approved the appointment of three Joint Strategic Directors who, with Joint Chief Executive Tom Horwood, will lead the officer team of both councils. Last year, the councils agreed to work together in a partnership aimed at sustaining and improving local services in the face of falling Government funding and increasing demand on services.
The decision to recruit the shared senior team of chief executive and directors saves £430,000 per year compared with the previous structure.
Earlier this year, they agreed the legal basis for the partnership and began the recruitment of the Joint Management Team. A Joint Appointments Committee comprised of six councillors from across political groups in both councils has overseen the recruitment and selection of the three Joint Strategic Directors. The councils have now approved the appointment of the Joint Strategic Directors at their July Full Council meetings, and the directors will take up their new roles on 1 August.
The new Joint Strategic Directors are:
- Annie Righton, Joint Strategic Director, Community Wellbeing
- Dawn Hudd, Joint Strategic Director, Place
- Ian Doyle, Joint Strategic Director, Transformation & Governance
The councils will now continue the process of creating a Joint Management Team, including the next tier of senior managers, who will lead the service areas across both councils and be responsible for developing business cases for further joint working. The collaboration aims to help both councils cut costs by reducing the duplication of work, increasing efficiency and purchasing power, providing better value for money for residents and helping to protect local public services. The partnership is one of the largest between borough councils in the country, providing local services to 272,000 residents.
Leader of Guildford Borough Council, Cllr Joss Bigmore said: “Congratulations to our three new Joint Strategic Directors who were appointed after a robust appointment process in June. These key posts support our Joint Chief Executive Tom Horwood to ensure our services are delivered and our financial targets are achieved.
“Next they are recruiting for Joints Heads of Service across both councils and together they will make up the Joint Management Team. Thank you to all involved. We continue to operate in challenging times and working more closely will make us stronger for the future.’
Leader of Waverley Borough Council, Councillor Paul Follows, said: "I’m incredibly pleased that we have reached yet another significant milestone for the partnership and I’d like to thank everyone involved for their hard work and commitment to doing what is best for our residents. The success of our partnership will depend heavily on the vision, talent and leadership of our directors, and I feel absolutely confident that we have the right team in place to take the councils forward together.
“But let’s not forget what has brought us to this juncture. We face continued cuts from Government that will effectively see Waverley Borough Council's funding fall to zero over the next four years. This comes at a time when we are facing intense pressure from higher costs and increasing demand for our services, as we try to protect our communities from the worst of the cost of living crisis. After over a decade of cuts we are nearing the limit of the efficiency savings and cost-cutting that can be achieved on our own.
“By working together with Guildford and combining the strengths of our two officer teams, we expect to not only make efficiency savings but also to be able to improve our local services and protect them for the future."
Image: Left to right – Ian Doyle, Annie Righton, Dawn Hudd and Tom Horwood.