New GM roles for council bosses

Lord Smith and Donna Hall
Lord Smith and Donna Hall
  • Lord Smith given health portfolio responsibility
  • Donna Hall will lead on public service reform

WIGAN Council’s leading figures have been given key roles as the region’s combined authority prepares for its devolved powers handover.

Lord Smith, who narrowly missed out on becoming interim mayor earlier this year, will now oversee the region’s health and wellbeing portfolio.

This is a pivotal moment for Greater Manchester

Interim mayor Tony Lloyd

And chief executive Donna Hall has been tasked with leading the authority’s public sector reform plans, working under Mayor Tony Lloyd.

Lord Smith, the borough’s council leader, said the region “has achieved the best deal with the government on devolution.”

Adding that his colleagues must ensure that key services “deliver for local people.”

As part of Greater Manchester’s devolution deal, full control over health budgets are being handed over from Westminster for the first time.

Several politicians - including Leigh MP and former shadow health secretary Andy Burnham - have warned it could create a tiered NHS.

In March, when the health budget deal was struck, Lord Smith said: “This is another defining moment in Greater Manchester’s devolution journey.

“The scope and nature of this unprecedented agreement means we are proudly breaking new ground once more.”

Each council leader from the region’s 10 local authorities have been given responsibility for an area of policy.

Interim mayor Tony Lloyd said: “This is a pivotal moment for Greater Manchester. We are striving to ensure that the greater influence we’ve secured for the area through devolution is translated into an improved quality of life for people here – linking them with better health, transport, housing, employment and other opportunities within a thriving economy.

“We will continue to campaign for further devolution where it will help us achieve this ambition.

“The GMCA portfolio leads for each subject area - myself and the leaders of the 10 Greater Manchester councils - will come together as one team to drive forward this vision. I look forward to taking this work forward in the months ahead.”

Ms Hall’s public sector reform brief is being overseen by Mr Lloyd and she will be working alongside Bolton Council’s chief executive Paul Najsarek.