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The Trajectory: Edd de Coverly, Melton BC

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LGC’s quickfire quiz hears from newly appointed chief executives and senior officers on the highs, lows, challenges faced and lessons learned 

 

Name: Edd de Coverly

Move: Director for place and communities, Ashfield DC, to chief executive at Melton BC August 2017

First job in local government: Head of Neighbourhood Services – 2007 (though I’d worked in a number of project management roles as a consultant in local government since 2002).

Prior experienceI started my career in retail and wholesale, working with a number of companies including ainsbury’s. I also spent three months in Namibia with Raleigh International, a youth development charity. Fantastic lessons in community development and social justice that I’ve sought to carry with me throughout my career.

Education:

BSc Retail Management – Loughborough University

MA Marketing – University of Nottingham

Proudest career achievement: Leading the development of an integrated service hub at Ashfield which brought together colleagues from multiple agencies including council, police, fire, Department for Work and Pensions and the voluntary sector. Colleagues were asked to think beyond the scope of their role and agency responsibilities and design holistic service responses based on the needs of individuals. The results were striking, with lives improved and costs reduced across public services; a position validated by rigorous independent research by Nottingham Trent University.

Toughest career experience: I have worked through many challenging issues and some very busy times, but from a personal perspective, one of the toughest experiences I had was failing to secure the chief executive role at Ashfield in 2015. I believed I was ready to make the step up from a director but unfortunately I failed to make a persuasive enough argument in my submission. It was a disappointment but I was determined to use the experience as a learning opportunity.

Best thing about working in local government: Public service is a privilege and it is great to work with people, both members and officers, who want to make a difference in the communities we serve. Working at a district level we have the opportunity to influence across so many agendas and the impact of what we can achieve is significant, with no day ever the same!

What I wish I’d known when I started out: Learning is an invaluable process and the experiences through which we develop understanding are vital in making us better leaders. Perhaps knowing that I didn’t need to know everything at the outset would have made things a little easier….

Work/life balance: A few weeks in to my new role I’m not sure I’m the best person to ask about work life balance. It isn’t necessarily about only working 37 hours but rather about ensuring people are trusted and have appropriate control and flexibility over their time. Taking the kids to school or watching the nativity play are important family events and I would encourage anyone to ensure they make time for them, whilst still giving their all to the organisation.

Advice to tomorrow’s chiefs and senior officers: Too often I hear people limiting what they might achieve before they’ve given it a go. There is no dark art and senior leaders certainly don’t know everything so don’t worry if taking a step up is scary, believe in yourself, because it’s scary for everyone.

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