Council appoints former joint head of paid service as new chief executive

New chief executive of NNDC, Steve Blatch. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY

New chief executive of NNDC, Steve Blatch. Picture: DENISE BRADLEY - Credit: Copyright: Archant 2019

A Norfolk council has formally appointed a new chief executive after a row over a report which slammed it for “weak and divided” leadership.

North Norfolk District Council (NNDC) voted to formally appoint Steve Blatch as chief executive at a full council meeting held on Wednesday, June 24.

Mr Blatch came into the role in April, after a damning report last year which cost the council £1,000 a day found “serious concerns” about how the authority was run.

READ MORE: Leadership shake-up sees familiar face take top job after report found ‘serious concerns’

He was previously joint head of paid service alongside Nick Baker, who took voluntary redundancy as part of the senior management restructuring process.

Both the executives were paid between £85,000 and £90,000 a year.

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But the report itself was also subject to controversy, after Conservative councillors claimed it was “flawed”, and the council was forced to hold a probe into the circumstances surrounding the tender process following “issues” over whether proper procedures were followed.

In January this year the council agreed to implement the review.

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Speaking at the meeting on Wednesday, John Rest, leader of the independent group, said the council’s employment and appeals committee was unanimously recommending Mr Blatch be appointed to the top position, following a meeting on June 10.

He said: “We met with Steve who gave a very good presentation and outlined his proposals for the future of NNDC.

“We’re happy to unanimously recommend that he is appointed as chief executive.”

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And Sarah Butikofer, council leader, added: “Steve has a wealth of experience and has already given the council many years of service.

“He shares our vision for north Norfolk and our views on the importance of public service and our wishes to be green to the core.

“I’m confident Steve will help us deliver value for our residents.

“He took on the role at a time of unbelievable crisis.”

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Councillors voted unanimously in favour of the appointment.

And speaking after the vote, Mr Blatch said: “Thank you for the trust you’ve placed in me.

“I look forward to working with the council’s staff to deliver the council’s agenda to communities across north Norfolk.

“All local authorities face challenges at this time. I look forward to working with all members in leading staff in the months and years ahead.”

READ MORE: ‘Weak, divided’: Council leadership slammed by £1k-a-day consultant

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