£200k chief executive appointed at mayoral body for Peterborough and Cambridgeshire

A new chief executive on more than £200,000 a year has been appointed at the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority - the county’s mayoral body.

By Joel Lamy
Wednesday, 14th July 2021, 1:51 pm
Eileen Milner

The combined authority’s board has approved a unanimous recommendation from its Employment Committee to appoint Eileen Milner to the post.

Ms Milner is currently chief executive and accounting officer of the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

The ESFA is an executive agency of the Government’s Department for Education, and in this role she is responsible for a budget of £60 billion and delivery and policy responsibilities for the schools system and post-16 education, including apprenticeships.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Prior to this Ms Milner was executive director at the Care Quality Commission, the regulator of health and adult social care in England. Her career spans the public and commercial sectors, as well as higher education.

Her salary for her new role, which she is due to begin in the autumn, will be £203,923. The combined authority said that the figure has been “benchmarked against other roles of similar responsibility and with the goal of balancing value for money with the ability to attract talented candidates”.

Before Ms Milner takes up the job, current joint chief executives Kim Sawyer and John Hill will continue in their roles.

Ms Milner said: “I am delighted and honoured to have been appointed into this role. The area covered by the combined authority is an extraordinary one, rich in history, talent, innovation and opportunity and I am excited to join an organisation that has such an important remit in respect of making our area the very best place to live, work, invest and learn.”

Mayor of Cambridgeshire & Peterborough Dr Nik Johnson said: “The recruitment process for this vital role has been full, transparent and rigorous, was voted for by the combined authority board, and has involved collaboration with council leaders and stakeholders across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

“I think that the fact we have been able to appoint such an outstanding, experienced individual as Eileen owes a lot to the cooperative approach taken.

“I’m really looking forward to working with Eileen during my term as mayor and I’m very excited to welcome all of her experience and talent into the organisation. She is a dedicated and determined public servant and will be challenged to help me continue to embed the 3Cs of compassion, co-operation and community in the delivery of our projects and to help improve the lives of everyone in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough.

“I want to thank our joint chief executives Kim Sawyer and John Hill who have been, and continue to be, a fantastic support to me since becoming mayor and have been enthusiastic in laying the foundations for the 3Cs within the organisation.

“They have steered a growing and rapidly evolving organisation as big projects have moved from concept to delivery. It has been no small challenge and they have done a great job.”

Ms Milner has lived in South Cambridgeshire for more than 20 years, is married and has one daughter. She grew up in Cornwall and went to the University of Wales, Aberystwyth.

There were 33 applications for the role following an executive search by recruiters Penna and supplemented by national advertising.

A process of interviews and panels resulted in four candidates being presented to the Employment Committee from a long list of seven.

That process included shortlisted candidates attending engagement panels chaired by consultants from Penna and included membership from senior executives from stakeholders the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group, Anglia Ruskin University, the CPCA Business Board and the police and crime commissioner.

The engagement panels were tasked with providing independent feedback to the Employment Committee to support the recommendation of a candidate.

Interviews were held with the Employment Committee on June 16.