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Joint district chief to take up unitary director post

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One of two joint executive directors of two Devon districts will not be immediately replaced when he leaves his post early next year, it has been announced.

Steve Jorden, executive director for strategy and commissioning at West Devon BC and South Hams DC, will become corporate director of communties and housing at Swindon BC in February.

Councillors last week voted to offer other senior officers the opportunity to take on more responsibilities under interim arrangements until May 2019, rather than recruit a replacement for Mr Jorden.

Steve Jorden and Sophie Hosking

Joint district chief to take up unitary director post

Steve Jorden and Sophie Hosking

Executive director for service delivery and commercial development Sophie Hosking will replace Mr Jorden as head of paid service at both councils.

South Hams leader John Tucker (Con) said both councils would now consider whether to reinstate the role of chief executive, but added that the interim arrangements were the “right way forward” for now.

Mr Jorden joined West Devon in 2015 and, along with Ms Hosking, established arrangements for shared management and services between the two councils.

His departure comes after West Devon councillors last month voted down a merger of the councils after South Hams had voted to supported it.

West Devon leader Philip Sanders (Con) said Mr Jorden had worked “extremely hard to bring us through a challenging period in our history”.

He added: “I am confident that the changes implemented by Mr Jorden and Mrs Hosking have been and will continue to be of enormous benefit to both councils.”

Mr Jorden said leaving the role was not an easy decision.

He added: “I’m hugely proud of all that we’ve achieved here together, but equally it’s great to know that the councils and the staff are in safe hands for the future.”

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