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Districts restore chief role after peer review

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Two Devon districts have followed a recommendation from a peer review to restore the post of chief executive 15 months after their proposed merger collapsed.

South Hams DC and West Devon BC have shared services and management but their merger stalled when West Devon councillors opposed it, in part over fears about council tax equalisation.

Executive director for strategy and commissioning, Steve Jorden, resigned soon after to join Swindon BC as corporate director, communities and housing, leaving Sophie Hosking as the only executive director across the two authorities.

She is now due to become chief executive, after the Local Government Association peer review report said the councils should take this step “to provide managerial leadership”.

Both councils have now approved the change and recommended Ms Hosking’s appointment.

She will be asked to deliver a new senior leadership structure with directors of: customer service and delivery; director of place and enterprise; governance; strategic finance.

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