Fringe Box



County Council’s CEO Quits £235k Job for the Local Government Association

Published on: 4 Jan, 2024
Updated on: 5 Jan, 2024

Joanna Killian (Image Surrey County Council)

By Chris Caulfield

local democracy reporter

Surrey County Council’s £234,600 a year chief executive is to quit her job “with a heavy heart” in order to take up a new position at the Local Government Association.

Joanna Killian has announced that she will leave her post on March 6, calling time on six years at county hall having taken over from David McNulty in 2018.

According to a statement released by the county council, she has overseen dramatic transformation of the organisation in the face of unprecedented challenges and leaves the council in a robust financial position, with improved inspection ratings and peer reviews in almost all services.

However leader of the council Tim Oliver said in December that the Government financial settlement would leave the authority with little option but to raise SCC’s share of council tax by 5 per cent to help it cover a £13.5 million budget gap together with tough decisions on services.

Also in December, the Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspection found special education families in Surrey suffered from “inconsistent” provision that all too often made them feel they were not “valued or visible” in their communities – although progress and improvements across the service were being made.

While in June this year union bosses balloted members over possible industrial action after she received a pay offer that would have given her almost 10 times more than the authority’s lowest paid workers.

Arrangements for her replacement are expected to be announced in due course.

Surrey County Council services 1.2 million residents and has an annual budget of £2 billion. Prior to joining Surrey Joanna was chief executive of Essex County Council from 2006 to 2015.

In June 2021,  she was appointed by the Secretary of State as a commissioner at Liverpool City Council.

The Local Government Association represents 315 councils across England and works with authorities in Wales.

Cllr Tim Oliver

Tim Oliver, leader of Surrey County Council, said: “Joanna’s approachable and caring nature, coupled with fierce ambition and sharp knowledge has guided this council through difficult change, tough choices, an unstable economic and political climate, as well as the small matter of a global pandemic – all challenges in which this council has come to the fore, and delivered better outcomes for the residents of Surrey.

“She has kept us true to our ambition that no one in Surrey should be left behind, and her leadership has had a hugely positive impact on this county as a place, and its people.”

Joanna Killian said: “While I’m hugely excited and honoured to be taking up the Chief Executive role at the Local Government Association, it is with a heavy heart that I’m saying goodbye to Surrey.

“Surrey is a wonderful county, full of innovation and ambition, and the county council reflects that, with a great workforce all dedicated to improving people’s lives.

“Local government plays a vital role in communities up and down the UK, making a real difference every single day. It’s a sector I feel very privileged to work in, and I’m glad to be continuing that journey with the LGA, acting as a strong voice for councils with some big challenges ahead.”

Cllr Shaun Davies, chair of the LGA, said: “As we head into a General Election year, and with councils facing financial pressures like never before, the experience, skills and insight Joanna brings to the LGA will be a huge asset for the organisation and our membership.

“Her local government expertise, networks and knowledge developed in previous high-profile roles – both in councils and the private sector – will be invaluable in ensuring the LGA continues to be a strong and united voice for local government in the debates that matter.

“The LGA’s political group leaders and I are all delighted that Joanna will be joining us soon.”

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Responses to County Council’s CEO Quits £235k Job for the Local Government Association

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    January 4, 2024 at 5:50 pm

    Running away from the London Road Active Travel scheme fiasco?

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