Councils consider Joint Chief Executive

Following discussions between Torfaen Council, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council the Welsh Local Government Association, discussions are ongoing regarding the appointment of a joint Chief Executive (CEO) responsible for Torfaen and Blaenau Gwent.

Conversations between the councils have been ongoing to explore opportunities that could arise from working more closely together which now includes a proposal for a single CEO to work across both councils, initially for a defined period, with a mandate to:

  • seek efficiencies by optimising resources that can work at scale;
  • increase innovation and creativity;
  • and share best practice.

Damien McCann, Blaenau Gwent’s current CEO is due to retire in June 2024. It is proposed that the current Chief Executive of Torfaen, Stephen Vickers will undertake this joint CE role.

The Leader of Torfaen Council, Councillor Anthony Hunt said: “Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen are neighbours, and our councils and communities face many similar challenges. The public are very familiar with the many challenges faced by both councils, including a combined projected financial pressure of around £70 million over the next four years.  Our councils want to stay one step ahead and be proactive and adaptive in our strategies to address these challenges. We’ve been exploring a broad range of opportunities that may arise from working more closely together and we believe this holds significant potential to enhance both council’s resilience, efficiency, and opportunity to innovate.

“Both councils want to maintain and improve services for residents and see a single CEO as a route to sharing organisational skills, resources and expertise as a critical way of achieving this. This could also help mitigate the very real financial and operational risks faced by both councils.”

The Leader of Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council, Cllr Stephen Thomas said: “This is a full-time CEO working across both councils. It is not a move towards each council having a part-time CEO or a merger of the two councils. Both councils would maintain political and financial sovereignty, each maintaining their own priorities and plans, governance structures and their own political independence.  However, we believe this joint role can present some real opportunities to kick on from the progress both councils have made over the last few years.”

Following a period of engagement both councils will need to formally approve the proposal in Full Council meetings over the coming months.