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County council's new chief executive starts work

Monday, 19th December 2011.

Deborah Cadman has today started as Suffolk County Council’s new chief executive.

Deborah brings with her 28 years’ public sector experience, six years of which was as chief executive at St Edmundsbury Borough Council, where her husband Geoff Rivers now holds the post.

Before joining Suffolk County Council, Deborah was the East of England Development Agency’s chief executive where in 2010/11 she supported the creation of 8,800 jobs and 2,800 new businesses in the east.

Prior to her role at St Edmundsbury, where she led the authority from a 'fair' to 'excellent' government rating, she was a lead inspector at the Audit Commission and assistant chief executive at Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council.

Deborah has a BSc in social administration and politics, an MSc in urban and regional economics and an MA in management. She was awarded an OBE in 2006 for services to local government.

She takes the Suffolk County Council helm at a challenging time as the authority works to save £50m over the next two financial years.

Her predecessor as chief executive, Andrea Hill, hit national headlines for her £220,000-plus salary, and resigned after an investigation into allegations of bullying, although she was cleared.

Deborah will be responsible for leading the redesign of the way the council works, protecting frontline services and keeping council tax down – all priorities for the Conservative administration at Endeavour House.

Other challenges and opportunities ahead include:
· Reducing the cost of senior management at Suffolk County Council;
· Working in partnership with other councils, businesses, the third sector and local community groups;
· Reducing the number and cost of public buildings in Suffolk;
· Dealing with increasing demand for council services;
· Delivering Suffolk’s ambitious
broadband programme;
· Continuing the council’s openness, transparency and listening agenda, while finding local, practical solutions to community issues.

Reflecting on the challenges ahead, Deborah said: “I’ve been genuinely touched by the way people have supported me following my appointment. For me this is the most exciting job in Suffolk and I’m thrilled that I now have the opportunity to tackle the challenges it presents.

“The political direction at Suffolk County Council is clear and I want to work with the leadership, and with staff, who I know have a genuine commitment to delivering for the people of Suffolk.

“Throughout my career I’ve been committed to making a difference in the public sector. I’m going to use my experience and passion to make a difference for the whole of Suffolk.”

The appointment of a chief executive has to be ratified by a meeting of all county councillors. Last Thursday, Suffolk’s county councillors from all political parties unanimously voted to appoint Deborah.

Suffolk County Council's leader, Cllr Mark Bee, said: “Deborah is a first class chief executive and brings with her a wealth of experience that will help us overcome the challenges we face.

"I’m very much looking forward to working as a team with Deborah and developing a strong partnership approach across Suffolk and with all of our partners.

“Deborah understands the way people in Suffolk live and do business and I’m confident that her pragmatic approach to solving issues will be well received.

“Suffolk is a fantastic county and the people who live and work here deserve an efficient local authority that delivers good value for money services.

"The county council is, and does, exactly this – but maybe people haven’t felt that in the past. I want to continue the work we’ve started to restore public confidence in Suffolk County Council and allow our staff to get the recognition they deserve. Deborah is just the person to help us do that.”

Cllr Bee paid tribute to Lucy Robinson, who since August served Suffolk County Council as interim chief executive.

Today Lucy returns to her permanent role as executive director responsible for economy, skills and environment and takes on additional responsibilities as deputy chief executive.

Cllr Bee said: “Lucy brought stability and calm to Suffolk County Council at a difficult time for the authority. I’d like to express my sincere appreciation for the way she has risen to the challenge.

"The county council is fortunate to have her serving in a senior position and I look forward to working with her as the council faces up to all its future challenges.”

Haverhill Online News

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