Search for new Wigan Council boss is launched

Outgoing Wigan Council chief executive Donna Hall
Outgoing Wigan Council chief executive Donna Hall

The process to replace outgoing chief executive Donna Hall is under way at Wigan Town Hall.

A council committee tasked with overseeing the recruitment of a new top officer will meet for the first time on Monday December 3.

Ms Hall announced in October she will retire in 2019, bringing to an end an eight-year term at the local authority.

The council is yet to confirm a specific date for her departure but an announcement is expected before the end of the year.

An appointments committee has been convened that includes council leader Coun David Molyneux, deputy Coun Keith Cunliffe and four other Labour members.

Leader of the Conservative opposition Coun Michael Winstanley is the only representative not from the ruling group.

In light of Ms Hall’s decision to retire, members of Wigan’s clinical commissioning group (CCG) governing body were informed this week that Caroline Kurzeja will become accountable officer for the organisation with immediate effect.

Ms Hall took on the key health job in June, combining it with her town hall duties as the CCG and the council forges a closer working relationship.

Ms Kurzeja is the current deputy chief officer for Wigan and former chief officer at South Manchester CCG.

She told a meeting of the CCG governing body this week: “I welcome the chance to take on the accountable officer role.

“Single commissioning is the direction of travel nationally. It’s something I’m committed to and to carry on doing the work of the CCG to make sure we keep delivering good quality services for our patients and working in partnership with both primary and secondary care.”

The CCG and the council are currently working on plans to pool part of their respective budgets and create a joint commissioning committee to oversee spending on hospital, mental health and community services.

Chairman of the CCG, Dr Tim Dalton, told the meeting that despite the change at the top the organisation’s goals remain the same.

He said: “There are pressures on delivery, pressures in terms of finances and pressures on performance, but people want to get great services despite those pressures and our job as a governing body is giving the public what they are requiring from us.”