Education given even greater focus in council’s top team

Improving educational attainment will be the sole focus of one councillor whilst banking and investments experience has been brought in to help manage a £156 million saving programme, as part of changes to Suffolk County Council’s cabinet announced today.

The new appointments, made during a restructure of council leader Mark Bee’s cabinet, will see two new faces join the top team whilst areas of responsibility, often called ‘portfolios’, are changed to reflect the council’s priorities. The total number of cabinet members remains the same.

Responsibility for education, skills and children’s services will now be split between two cabinet members, with Councillor Lisa Chambers focusing on leading the authority’s drive to improve educational attainment in Suffolk’s schools. Councillor Gordon Jones will be responsible for children’s services, including early years and social care.

And former Merrill Lynch investment analyst, Councillor Jenny Antill, will take over responsibility for managing the authority’s £700 million annual budget and four-year savings programme totalling £156 million.

There will be two fewer assistant cabinet members than in the previous cabinet, with new roles for Councillor Matthew Hicks (assisting Councillor Lisa Chambers and Councillor Gordon Jones) and Councillor Jessica Fleming (assisting Councillor Rebecca Hopfensperger).

Speaking about the appointments, Councillor Bee said:

“In deciding who to appoint to my cabinet, I have thought long and hard about the skills and personalities we need going forward.

“In these appointments, I firmly believe that we have the right mix.

“Leading Suffolk County Council is, and always has been, about more than just those sitting around table in cabinet member roles. It’s about consultation, open and public debate and partnership working. It’s only by working in this way that we will overcome the unprecedented financial and service challenges we are currently facing.

“I’m looking forward to working with my new cabinet colleagues and all councillors as we tackle the challenges ahead of us.”

The chairmanship of county council committees has also been confirmed today. Councillor Michael Ladd will be stepping into the role of chairman of the health scrutiny committee and Councillor Stephen Burroughes will be taking over as chairman of the education and children’s services scrutiny committee. These changes will come into effect as of tomorrow. The chairmanship of the other committees remains unchanged.

Leader and cabinet member for economic development

Councillor Mark Bee
Responsible for: communication; policy development; economic development and tourism.

Cabinet member for roads, transport and planning

Councillor Graham Newman
Responsible for: road management and maintenance; rights of way, public transport; planning; coast and flooding and economic infrastructure.
Assistant cabinet member: Councillor Mary Evans.

Cabinet member for resource management and waste

Councillor Jenny Antill
Responsible for: finance; property; procurement and contract management; waste; ICT; scrutiny and monitoring; personnel; coroners and registrars.
Assistant cabinet member: Councillor Robert Whiting

Deputy leader and cabinet member for education and skills

Councillor Lisa Chambers
Responsible for: education; schools; training, skills and lifelong learning.
Assistant cabinet member: Councillor Matthew Hicks (also assists cabinet member for children’s services)

Cabinet member for children’s services
Councillor Gordon Jones
Responsible for: early years and childcare; children’s social services and youth support.
Assistant cabinet member: Councillor Matthew Hicks (also assists cabinet member for education and skills)

Cabinet member for public protection

Councillor Colin Spence
Responsible for: Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service; community safety; emergency planning; Suffolk Trading Standards and corporate health and safety.
Assistant cabinet member: Councillor Andrew Reid

Cabinet member for localities and environment
Councillor Rebecca Hopfensperger
Responsible for: Our Place; museums; archives; culture;diversity; libraries; Greenest County; AONBs; country parks; archaeology/archives and the Voluntary and Community Sector.
Assistant cabinet member: Councillor Jessica Fleming

Cabinet member for health and adult care

Councillor Alan Murray
Responsible for: Adult social care; public health; sport; housing and shelter.
Assistant cabinet member: Councillor Anne Gower

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