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Four new starters bolster council’s leadership team

Cheshire East Council has announced the appointment of four new senior officers.

Jayne Traverse will join the council as executive director – place, moving from Tameside Council. The place directorate includes highways, waste and recycling, economic development, housing, planning and a range of other placed-based services.

Deborah Woodcock, currently of Stockport Council, is joining as executive director – children’s services. Deborah will be responsible for delivery of the council’s education, children’s social care and safeguarding, early help and prevention services. She will also hold the statutory responsibilities of director of children’s services.

Helen Charlesworth-May, from Cornwall Council, will join as executive director – adults, health and integration. This directorate delivers adult social care and safeguarding, public health and communities’ services. Helen will hold the statutory responsibilities of director of adult social services.

Sarah Bullock is to join as the council’s new director of policy and change. This new role has been created as part of a corporate services restructure.  It brings strategic capacity and a new focus on policy and driving council-wide change. Sarah is moving from a position at St Helens Council.

Cheshire East Council chief executive Dr Lorraine O’Donnell said: “I am delighted to announce recent appointments to Cheshire East Council’s senior team. Between them, our new colleagues bring a wealth of additional experience and expertise to complement our existing strong team.

“It is a great time to join the organisation. We have a clear vision for an open, fair and green Cheshire East, as set out in our corporate plan, and a four-year balanced budget.

“Local public services have never been so important as they are now, as we emerge from the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. 

“Cheshire East is in a strong position to overcome the challenges and maximise the many strengths and opportunities ahead. These roles will be crucial in driving and delivering our vision.”

Jayne Traverse said: “I’m absolutely delighted to be taking up the position of executive director – place.  Cheshire East is a great borough with a positive vision for its future and I can’t wait to play my part in making its plans a reality. I look forward to working with councillors, colleagues, partners and the community.

“Together we will build on the excellent work to date and ensure a sustainable, inclusive and thriving borough. I’m tremendously excited about this fantastic opportunity.”

Deborah Woodcock said: “I am thrilled to take on this new role. Children’s services have a crucial role in supporting families, early years and education settings and communities to provide children with the best start in life.  

“I look forward to working with colleagues, partners, children and families in Cheshire East to be ambitious for our children – particularly those with additional needs or vulnerabilities – and to ensure that children are supported and safe from birth into adulthood.”

Helen Charlesworth-May said: “I am delighted to be joining Cheshire East. I am looking forward to meeting and working with the team, to make a real difference for our communities in the borough.   

“I am also eager to meet with partners in care, local health services and, most importantly, the people who use our services. Health and care services have played an important role throughout the pandemic and continue to face significant challenges, which no single service or organisation will be able to solve alone. I am committed to working together to achieve the best outcomes for local people.”

Sarah Bullock said: “I am delighted to be joining Cheshire East as the council’s new director of policy and change. I’m very sorry to leave St Helens but pleased to be leaving one ambitious council for another. 

“I’m looking forward to getting to know local communities, councillors and staff and working together to achieve the vision of an open, fairer, greener Cheshire East.”

The role of executive director – place became vacant following the resignation of Frank Jordan, who left Cheshire East Council at the end of August to join Nottingham City Council.

The roles of executive director – children’s services, and executive director – adults, health and integration were created following the resignation of the former executive director – people and the retirement of the former strategic director for adult social care. 

The position of director of policy and change is a new role that has been created to bolster the council’s capacity to shape future ambitions and to drive improvements.

Dr O’Donnell added: “The new starters are expected to take up their posts over the next few months. In the meantime, we will continue to work with the senior teams in affected directorates to ensure that appropriate interim arrangements are in place. 

“I am enormously grateful to those colleagues who are providing invaluable support and business continuity.”

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