Last night, our St Helens Labour Council made two important decisions. First, we agreed to the appointment of Kath O’Dwyer as Chief Executive, and then we agreed to the first phase of a restructure of senior management.
Kath’s appointment is particularly significant. It represents a fresh start for our council and our borough. She has a track record of delivery and service improvements which is second to none, and there isn’t a council in the country which wouldn’t want her as Chief Executive. And to top it all off, she’s a resident in our great borough and St Helens through and through.
Kath is the perfect candidate to drive our improvement journey in Children’s Services, and to lead the other changes our council needs: to deliver physical regeneration of town and district centres; to deliver the One Council agenda, transforming the way we work; and to change our culture as an organisation, making sure we get the most out of our fantastic staff and become an enabler, not a blocker, for the many amazing individuals and organisations in our borough who are keen to be a part of delivering change and getting things done.
In addition to the appointment of our new Chief Executive, the senior management restructure is a necessary and welcome change for the Council organisation. We have amazing staff, but in some cases we don’t currently have the right clarity about roles and responsibilities, and in some departments we simply lack the capacity and expertise needed to deliver what we as a Council should expect, and what residents rightly demand.
Among the changes, this restructure will create a standalone Director of Children’s Services post, helping us to address the challenges faced in that department, and will create a new Assistant Director for Commercial, helping us to properly identify and maximise opportunities for generating income for the Council.
This is a very exciting time for the Council and the borough, and we look forward to making more announcements in the new year.