Derbyshire County Council appoints new managing director on up to £176k

Derbyshire County Council (DCC) has named its new managing director.

Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 4:56 pm
Updated Tuesday, 23rd November 2021, 5:03 pm

The role has been given to Emma Alexander, current interim managing executive director and executive director for commissioning, communities and policy.

Councillors will be asked to approve Ms Alexander’s appointment at the full council meeting on December 1.

Derbyshire County Council's Matlock HQ.

If approved, she would formally take up the post from December 6.

Councillor Barry Lewis, leader of Tory-led DCC, said: “Emma joined the council in 2017 with a strong track record in the public and commercial sectors and has provided outstanding leadership and drive to the organisation over the last four years.

“I am delighted that she will be working alongside me in the role of managing director.

“Emma was selected after a rigorous competitive recruitment process against a high calibre field and I know she will continue to have the core values of improving people’s lives and partnership work at the centre of her approach.

“The changing world of local Government – which includes leading the post-pandemic economic and social recovery, the integration of health and social care, driving forward Vision Derbyshire to develop a collaborative working model across all local authorities, and harnessing the opportunities that levelling up presents – means this role is essential in enabling us to adapt and respond at every level across the organisation.

“This approach demonstrates our responsiveness as a council, our ability to change and adapt to a new landscape and our determination to do what is right for Derbyshire people, our partner organisations and our communities.”

Four years ago, the incoming Conservative administration at DCC scrapped the authority’s chief executive role, along with several other leadership positions, in a bid to save £300,000 a year.

It was later revealed that Ian Stephenson, the outgoing chief executive whose role was scrapped, making him redundant, had received a total payout package of nearly £125,000 – with leadership denying this was a ‘golden handshake’.

Mr Stephenson had been on a salary of £138,000 a year.

Earlier this year, DCC, under the same Conservative leadership in a historic second consecutive administration, announced it was reintroducing the role of an officer in charge of running the council – this time calling it managing director.

The managing director will have an annual salary of between £161,000 and £176,000 – not including other costs such as expenses and pension contributions.

Coun Joan Dixon, leader of DCC’s Labour group, described the wage as ‘obscene’ at a time when many residents are struggling.

A DCC spokesperson said: “An independent external review into the effectiveness of the previous temporary managing executive director operating model concluded that a leadership structure with a permanent managing director will best enable the council to meet the challenges ahead and that the authority needs to invest in its most senior level.

“Ms Alexander will set clear strategic direction, drive performance and provide accountability to councillors and residents.

“She will also lead on relationships with key partners locally, regionally and nationally, ensuring Derbyshire has influence at every level and that the county’s voice is heard.”