Permanent job merger for Peterborough City Council chief executive

Gillian Beasley

Gillian Beasley

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The chief executive of Peterborough City Council will continue performing the same role at Cambridgeshire County Council after it was agreed to permanently merge both jobs.

Councillors at both local authorities agreed to the proposal this week after an initial trial of a year was deemed to have been a success.

Mrs Beasley has been chief executives at both councils since November 2015 having previously been chief executive of just the city council.

City council leader Councillor John Holdich was in favour of the trial when it was first mooted.

Speaking after city councillors unanimously agreed on Monday evening to have a shared chief executive, he said: “We know we got it right. We can get the best quality where we use each other’s ideas.”

Cllr Holdich did admit, though, that changes had to be made during the trial.

He added: “The arrangement has been going on for some time. I was charged by the council to review it after six months which I did.

“I made some adjustments to the arrangement because I did not think it was working for Gillian. She was working very long hours so we adjusted the days and Cambridgeshire agreed to put in an assistant.”

This is the first shared chief executive role between unitary and county authorities nationally. The move will continue to deliver annual savings of £110,000 for the city council.

There are no plans to increase the salary for the shared chief executive, while the county council intends to introduce a deputy chief executive role.

However, the city council says it has no plans to re-introduce the deputy chief executive role at the Town Hall.

Back in September last year when councillors were debating the 12 month trial, which had a six month break-off clause, concerns were raised about burn out for Mrs Beasley.

There were also concerns that the city council would once again become part of the county council.

During an Employment Committee meeting nine months ago, Cllr Fitzgerald said: “We consider it quite flattering that Cambridgeshire County Council approached us and our chief executive who comes in for a lot of criticism unfairly.”

Lisa Forbes, who was then a city councillor, said: “I’m quite protective of Gillian because I think she is a fantastic chief executive.

“I think it’s a little bit sad that we are going to share her but I think it’s the right thing to do.”