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News : Lancashire County Council appoints new Chief Executive


Wednesday, 17th November 2010
(PR10/0714)

Lancashire County Council has announced Phil Halsall will succeed Ged Fitzgerald as its Chief Executive, in a move that will save more than £500,000 over the next three years.

Phil will be redeployed from his current role of Executive Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive, which will be abolished as part of the county council's efforts to reduce management costs.

The news follows the announcement Ged will leave his role early next year to become Chief Executive at Liverpool City Council.

Leader of Lancashire County Council, County Councillor Geoff Driver, explains: "Phil is a highly experienced manager and leader who is already at the heart of our efforts to maintain high quality frontline services while delivering the savings required by Government.

'The decision to redeploy him to the role of Chief Executive gives us certainty about the future at a crucial time in the county council's history.

"He will provide us with the continuity of leadership and considerable financial acumen needed to steer us through this difficult period while shaping a bright future for Lancashire.

"I cannot justify the time or expense we would have to invest in recruiting externally when I am sure, in Phil, the strongest possible successor is already at the county council.'

The decision was made by the Special Appointments Committee, which is made up of Cabinet members and the leaders of the two main opposition groups on the county council.

Phil's appointment is subject to the agreement of the full council at its meeting on 16 December.

County Cllr Jennifer Mein, Leader of the Labour group, said: "It is vital the county council remains focused on the challenges it has to manage over the next few years and by acting quickly on appointing a Chief Executive we hope to avoid any distraction from that.

"Phil will bring a great deal of experience and expertise to the role and I look forward to working with him as Chief Executive."

County Cllr Bill Winlow, Leader of the Liberal Democrat group, added: "Phil has a strong track record on financial management but also brings a broader range of skills that have enabled him to quickly become a valuable member of the senior management team.

"This decision gives the county council the stability it needs at this time and I am sure Phil will prove very capable in the role."

Phil, who is 52 and a father of two, has been a Chief Executive in the county previously when he held the equivalent post at South Ribble Borough Council, before moving to Liverpool City Council as Executive Director of Resources in 2000.

He arrived at the county council in Summer 2009 and his current role includes responsibility for finance, IT, customer services and property services, as well as deputising as Chief Executive.

Phil said: "The county council has worked hard to earn a track record of providing excellent services to residents. As Chief Executive I'll be striving to ensure we remain among the best while adapting effectively to the challenging financial climate.

"I'm pleased and honoured to take up the role and look forward to working with the members and staff to make a positive difference to the lives of people across Lancashire."

Lancashire County Council is the largest local authority in the North West and the fourth largest in the country, serving 1,165,000 residents with an overall budget of £1.8bn and 42,000 employees.


ENDS

Notes to the Editor:

1. The decision to redeploy Phil Halsall and abolish the post of Executive Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive will save Lancashire County Council £148,000 per annum plus a one off saving of circa £80,000, which was the cost of recruiting to the Chief Executive role when it was last advertised in 2008.

2. The Special Appointments Committee's decision to appoint Phil Halsall as Chief Executive is subject to the completion of Lancashire County Council's formal approval processes. This means it must be approved at a meeting of the full council, which will be the scheduled meeting on 16 December 2010.

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