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Kerswell extends Newham stay amid recruitment warning

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Newham LBC has extended the contract interim chief executive Katherine Kerswell by a further six months.

Ms Kerswell, who was between 2012 and 2015 both director general, civil service reform, and director general, efficiency and reform in the Cabinet Office, joined Newham following the retirement of Kim Bromley-Derry in August.

A motion to approve the extension was approved by councillors last week.

Newham mayor Rokhsana Fiaz (Lab) said the council hoped to recruit a permanent chief executive by March but warned it may take longer due to the current high number of vacant chief executive posts across the country, particularly in London.

“I have met with the approved recruitment agency to go through the timetable for the permanent recruitment of the chief executive,” said Ms Fiaz. “It is a process which will hopefully enable us to appoint someone by March, but as with all senior roles, particularly in the context of London where there is a number of chief executive posts vacant in local government, it may take slightly longer.”

The council said Ms Kerswell, whose contract was due to end in February, is “delivering improvements in corporate governance and transparency, a cultural change programme that reflects the views of all employees, an organisational restructure, and supporting the shaping of 2019-20 budget proposals that deliver the priorities of the new administration under Mayor Fiaz.”

Ms Fiaz defeated former mayor Robin Wales to be selected Labour’s candidate in May’s election.

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