New-look ruling cabinet and 'member champions' revealed for South Tyneside Council
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Councillor Tracey Dixon, leader of the council, confirmed nine lead member positions in addition to her own role at the annual meeting of the local authority on Tuesday, May 16.
The cabinet includes some new faces and new cabinet roles and follows the departure of several senior councillors.
This includes deputy council leader Joan Atkinson, who did not seek re-election this year and cabinet member Anne Hetherington, who lost her West Park council seat to the Green Party at local elections on May 4, 2023.
Council bosses say the revised cabinet roles reflect the council’s vision to enable people to live happy, healthy and fulfilled lives.
The roles also aim to deliver on the council’s ambitions of keeping people well and healthy throughout their lives, financially secure, connected to jobs, skills and learning and being part of strong communities with a commitment to target support to make things fairer.
Council leader Cllr Tracey Dixon said: “We have engaged with thousands of residents over the past year as well as businesses, our partners and staff.
“Those insights have helped us deliver a vision which is all about putting people at the heart of everything we do.
“The new refreshed cabinet will allow us to tackle the biggest and most fundamental issues our residents are facing.”
The new deputy leader of the council is councillor Audrey Huntley who takes on the portfolio of culture, leisure and the visitor economy.
New faces on the cabinet also include councillor Jane Carter who will serve in a new role of education and skills, and councillor Paul Dean who will take on the voluntary sector, partnerships and equalities brief.
Other cabinet members include:
Adults, Health and Independence – Councillor Ruth Berkley
Children and Families Social Care– Councillor Adam Ellison
Economic Growth and Transport – Councillor Margaret Meling
Governance, Finance and Corporate Services – Councillor Joanne Bell
Housing and Community Safety – Councillor Jim Foreman
Neighbourhoods and Climate Change – Councillor Ernest Gibson
The cabinet positions were confirmed at the annual meeting of council and the leader of the opposition position was confirmed as councillor David Francis of the Green Party.
Council leader Cllr Dixon added: “The recent Ofsted inspection of our children’s services has provided recommendations which we have already prioritised and started to implement, as we continue on our journey of improvement.
“Providing focussed political challenge and support is a key part of our strengthened approach.
“As part of our ambition to ensure residents are connected to jobs, we have prioritised a clear focus on this area. This is why the previous joint portfolio has been redesigned.
“I have every faith that my new cabinet will bring their experience and passion to deliver good things for the people of South Tyneside.
“We will continue to work with local people in an honest, open and transparent way as we drive forward our plans to make a lasting and positive difference to people’s lives.”
The council leader also confirmed that ‘member champions’ will continue, which includes some South Tyneside councillors “acting as advocates for specific areas for the council’s business”.
This includes “encouraging communication and positive action over the issue they represent”.
The new list of member champions is:
Equality, inclusion, diversity and LGBTQ+ – Cllr Shane Smith
Skills – Cllr Judith Taylor
Youth Engagement – Cllr Ken Dawes
Democracy – Cllr Ann Best
Domestic Violence – Cllr Pat Hay
Town centres and villages – Cllr Mark Walsh