Oxfordshire chief to step down in September

Joanna Simons will be standing down as chief executive of Oxfordshire County Council in September.  NNL-150130-145242001

Joanna Simons will be standing down as chief executive of Oxfordshire County Council in September. NNL-150130-145242001

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Joanna Simons will step down as chief executive of Oxfordshire County Council in September as they carry out a review of senior management arrangements.

Mrs Simons has been in the role for ten years and the announcement follows the council’s earlier deabates about whether to remove the post, but concluded a permanent change required further consideration.

Councillor Ian Hudspeth, leader of Oxfordshire County Council, said: “I would like to thank Joanna for her ten years of dedicated service as a high effective chief executive who had made a great contribution to public services in Oxfordshire.

“She has steered the council successfully through unprecedented changes in local government, and leaves the council in very good shape to meet the challenges ahead.

“In my time as leader, I have valued her wise counsel and ability to look ahaed, which ensured we have been able to prepare for difficult times and take opportunities. I would like to thank her personally for that advice and support, and wish her the very best for the future.”

The council’s aim is to reduce costs in light of further funding cuts announced by the government.

The post of chief executive will be not be deleted in the first instance to enable the council to consider the best management arrangements for the future, without ruling out any further options.

It is proposed, subject to council, decision, that the interim arrangement will involve the chief executive’s responsibilities being shared amongst the management team with Peter Clark, currently chief legal officer, becoming the statutory head of paid service, and other directors taking on additional duties in support.

Mr Hudspeth added: “I am confident that we can reduce the costs of our senior management team, which was always my aim.

“The council will now do a cross party stocktake and review all the senior management options, with new arrangements announced in due course.
“In considering management options, we will have to balance reducing costs with the need to ensure the council has the right structure to face difficult financial challenges ahead.”

Proposals for the new arrangements will be considered by the full council and will form part of the budge, which is agreed in February 2016.