Senior council officer set to become new town hall chief executive

Alison McKenzie-Folan with Wigan Council leader Coun David Molyneux
Alison McKenzie-Folan with Wigan Council leader Coun David Molyneux

A senior council officer is set to become the new chief executive at Wigan Council.

Alison McKenzie-Folan, who is currently deputy chief executive and the director for customer transformation, is the recommendation to succeed Donna Hall in the local authority's top jobs.

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She was picked by a special employment committee, chaired by council leader Coun David Molyneux, and will be put forward for approval by the full council at its March meeting.

Ms Hall CBE is retiring at the end of February after eight years at the helm and Ms McKenzie Folan, 50, spoke of her pride and delight at being selected to succeed her.

Ms McKenzie-Folan, who has been at the town hall for a decade, said: "It is a dream come true and the proudest moment of my career to be chosen for what I believe is the best job in local government.

“My time at Wigan has been the best years of my career and to become the council’s chief executive is a true privilege.

“It will be a tough task to follow in Donna’s footsteps who has been an inspiration to me over the past eight years.

“However I have amazing staff and a brilliant cabinet team led by the leader.

“We will work together to take this great organisation forward and build an amazing place for our residents to live in throughout the next decade.”

Ms McKenzie-Folan has 28 years’ experience in various roles in local government, the civil service and the NHS.

She joined the local authority as a senior manager in human resources and in her current role has direct responsibility for 800 staff covering corporate policy, transformation, revenues, benefits and rent collections, customer services, libraries, ICT and human resources among others.

Ms McKenzie-Folan developed the Deal for the Future strategy and key transformation programmes which have seen the council save £135m since 2010 while improving the delivery of services.

She has also been at the forefront of the roll-out of place-based working in Wigan where multi-agency teams work from one location – an approach which is now being adopted across Greater Manchester.

Coun Molyneux said: “We are very lucky to have someone of Alison’s calibre to promote from within the council and I’m delighted to recommend her as our new chief executive.

“Alison is an inspirational and well-known officer who has many outstanding qualities which she will bring to the role.

“She has the drive to take The Deal into its next chapter and bring our partners, residents and staff with us.

“It is as crucial as ever that we have leadership to deliver services in partnership with our residents on a reduced budget and Alison has the skill and track record to do just that.”

Ms McKenzie-Folan is a leading voice for the use of digital for the improvement of services and increasing opportunities for residents and her work in this area has seen the council win a raft of national awards.

Earlier this year she was invited by Prince Andrew to launch his new digital enterprise award at St James’ Palace.

Outside of the council Ms McKenzie-Folan is a volunteer on the board at Unify Credit Union, board member for Open Data Manchester and digital spokesperson for the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives.

Ms McKenzie-Folan was also named in the Northern Power Women Top 50 Power list in 2017 and one of the nine most influential digital leaders in Greater Manchester.