Council's new chief executive wants more confident city

Saturday, December 13, 2008, 07:30

THE new chief executive of Nottingham City Council has said the city must rediscover its confidence.

Jane Todd, who has filled the role on a temporary basis since May, said the key to success would be to improve relationships within the city council and with other organisations.

And she surprised everyone by announcing she would not accept the advertised salary of £185,000 a year. She will be paid £165,000 a year, which she says is more "appropriate".

Ms Todd succeeds Michael Frater who left with a pay-off of £230,000 after he and the leader of the Labour council, Jon Collins, fell out.

He was the third chief executive to go in six years. Ms Todd said she expected to stay for up to five years.

Only seven applicants, including Ms Todd, applied for the job after bad publicity surrounding the departure of her predecessors.

But Ms Todd said: "You have a different attitude when it is your home town and it is a vocation rather than a career move."

She added: "We need to have confidence and not be always looking over our shoulder. Confidence, reputation and stability is important."

The city council was criticised earlier this year for allowing a "blame culture" to develop within the organisation. The watchdog accused councillors of interfering.

Ms Todd said it was important for staff to be clear about what was expected of them if they are to grow in confidence.

"I really expect people to deliver but I am clear about what it is they are accountable for delivering," she said.

She sees the key challenge for the city to be getting all organisations and personalities working together.

She said: "It's about getting the relationships right instead of that being a blockage as they have been in the past."

Ms Todd had previously worked for the city council, before becoming regional director at the Government Office for the East Midlands, and then taking up a post as a senior civil servant at the department for Communities and Local Government in London.

Her appointment has been broadly welcomed. Graham Allen, Nottingham North MP, and chairman of the One Nottingham board, said: "She is passionate about Nottingham and gets on with everybody."

Mich Stevenson, chairman of Nottingham Regeneration Limited said: "I am delighted. She has proved herself as someone whose heart is in Nottingham. She is someone people can work with."

But the Liberal Democrat group on the council withdrew from the recruitment process due to concerns about the narrow field. The Lib Dems wanted the council to use an external recruitment agency to bring in higher-calibre candidates.

However, council leader Jon Collins said: "I'm optimistic about Nottingham's future with her in post."

Council's new chief executive wants more confident city
Jane Todd



Ancillary Navigation