Peterborough and Cambridgeshire council chief executive to retire

The chief executive of Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County Council is to retire early next year.

By Joel Lamy
Wednesday, 19th May 2021, 2:40 pm

Gillian Beasley (63) became the first chief executive to share the role between unitary and county authorities back in 2015, initially on a trial basis before the move became permanent.

A solicitor by profession, she was appointed chief executive of Peterborough City Council in 2002 and had planned to retire last October, only to delay this due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mrs Beasley, who is also the returning officer at elections, said: “I have been privileged to work with and lead a group of staff at both councils who are tireless in their efforts for people in Peterborough and Cambridgeshire, and nothing has demonstrated that more than the last 16 months during the pandemic when their work has been at the frontline of protecting and supporting local communities.

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Gillian Beasley

“I have also been fortunate to work with elected members of all political persuasions who are driven by a desire to make a real difference to people’s lives.”

During her career Mrs Beasley has advised government on children’s law, migration impacts, government housing and cohesion and served on a number of bodies and commissions linked to these issues.

She also led on a complex child sexual exploitation case in Peterborough which helped inform and shape future local government practice.

She received an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list in 2009 for services to local government. She holds an honorary doctorate from Anglia Ruskin University and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts.

Her job merger was the catalyst for a string of shared roles across both authorities, will all senior positions except chief finance officer (and many at lower levels) now jointly filled.

Therefore, Mrs Beasley’s replacement is set to be solely responsible for Cambridgeshire.

This would have ramifications for Peterborough which currently shares the chief executive’s salary of more than £170,000 with the county council.

Last week, leader of the Conservatives in Peterborough Cllr Wayne Fitzgerald, who is likely to be the next city council leader, expressed his concern at the end of joint appointments.

He told the Peterborough Telegraph: “I’m disappointed I wasn’t consulted before the announcement was made as it could have serious and significant consequences for both councils.”