New £110,000 Brecks boss revealed

As a father-of-seven, Breckland Council's new chief executive is used to bringing harmony to discord.Former military policeman and ex-wing commander in the RAF Trevor Holden hopes to bring his worldly experience to bear to steward the authority through a period of seismic change and growing dissent among its 300-staff.

As a father-of-seven, Breckland Council's new chief executive is used to bringing harmony to discord.

Former military policeman and ex-wing commander in the RAF Trevor Holden hopes to bring his worldly experience to bear to steward the authority through a period of seismic change and growing dissent among its 300 staff.

Norwich-born Mr Holden is keen to help the council move on from the shadow that hung over the departure of its former chief executive Becky Hellard, who quit last year under a shroud of secrecy.

Breckland has embarked on a series of ambitious and often controversial measures that have kept it in the headlines, such as its purchase of Barnham Broom Hotel and its selling and pooling of services through the Anglia Revenues Partnership and Strategic Alliance.

The cost of the reforms has been simmering unhappiness among some staff, revealed in a recent union survey that found almost a third of council employees think morale has worsened during the last year.

But Mr Holden, 44, is undeterred and said it was this dynamic approach that drew him to take up the £110,000-a-year post in the first place.

Most Read

He said: "The opportunity to be the leader of this council represents the most fantastic challenge and opportunity to be at the forefront of where local government is heading.

"Change is always unsettling and in terms of Breckland Council there has been a period of change in its recent history. What I would hope to bring is an openness and a management style that will help to improve any problems staff may have."

His life story puts paid to the myth of the grey civil servant, working his way through the ranks of the RAF after joining as a military policeman in 1980 and serving in Hong Kong, Germany and the Falkland Islands.

After running a number of air bases as wing commander, he gained a master's degree in 2000 and retired from the RAF in 2004.

It was only then that he took on his first local-government role, as director of neighbourhood services at Erewash Borough Council in Derbyshire - securing a "good" government rating for the department.

But he believes his lack of council experience will work to his advantage.

He said: "My background is not in local government. You need people involved who are new to it and will challenge current practice and change the way that councils do business.

"The reason I came into local government is to help people and hopefully have a real impact on the services for real people."

Mr Holden and his wife Julie are looking for a sizeable home in Breckland to accommodate them and their seven children. "We are just checking out the schools at the moment. We're on the lookout for a small country mansion," he joked.

He will join Breckland in June for a handover period with interim chief executive Keith Davis until July 2.

Council leader William Nunn and Mr Davis warmly welcomed Mr Holden to the post at Breckland's full council meeting yesterday.