New-look ruling cabinet and 'member champions' revealed for South Tyneside Council as Labour make changes after election

South Tyneside Council’s leader has confirmed a new-look cabinet for the coming year with refreshed roles and responsibilities.
South Tyneside Council Leader Cllr Tracey DixonSouth Tyneside Council Leader Cllr Tracey Dixon
South Tyneside Council Leader Cllr Tracey Dixon

At the annual meeting of full council this week, Cllr Tracey Dixon announced details on eight lead member cabinet positions.

While the majority of the Labour cabinet will remain, albeit with realigned portfolios and responsibilities, two new faces have been announced.

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This includes Horsley Hill councillor Ruth Berkley who will take on the role of cabinet member for voluntary sector, partnerships and equalities.

Councillor Margaret Meling, Monkton ward representative, is also expected to take on the economic growth, skills and climate change portfolio.

The shake-up follows cabinet member councillor Moira Smith losing her seat at the May 2022 elections and cabinet member councillor Mark Walsh stepping down from the executive panel.

Councillor Joan Atkinson will remain deputy leader taking on the portfolio of culture, leisure, and the visitor economy.

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Other members of the cabinet joining the leader and deputy leader are:

:: Cllr Anne Hetherington – Adults, health and independence

:: Cllr Adam Ellison – Children, young people and families

:: Cllr Joanne Bell – Governance, finance and corporate services

:: Cllr Jim Foreman – Housing and community safety

:: Cllr Ernest Gibson – Transport and neighbourhoods

Details on the cabinet were announced at Tuesday’s (May 17) annual council meeting at South Shields Town Hall.

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Each cabinet portfolio aims to reflect the areas that are important to residents and businesses and have been realigned to help support delivery across service areas.

Cllr Tracey Dixon, leader of South Tyneside Council, said the new “reshaped” cabinet aimed to “better reflect the needs and aspirations of those who live, visit and invest in our borough”.

Cllr Dixon went on to say: “I have great faith in the team of councillors that make up the cabinet who have the experience, the knowledge and the passion to lead this council and to deliver for our residents and for our businesses.”

In addition to the lead member cabinet positions, six ‘member champions’ were also confirmed.

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Champion portfolios aim to highlight areas that the council and borough needs to focus on as it emerges from the coronavirus pandemic and support those most severely affected by the changing economy.

Their role will be to act as an advocate for a specific area of the council’s business and to encourage communication and positive action over the issue they represent.

The new member champions are:

:: Cllr Ann Best – Democracy

:: Cllr Ruth Berkley – Domestic violence

:: Cllr Jane Carter – Equality, diversity, and inclusion

:: Cllr Michael Clare – Skills

:: Cllr Mark Walsh – South Shields town centre and market traders

:: Cllr Jay Potts – Youth engagement

Council leader Cllr Dixon, speaking after the annual council meeting, added: “As an organisation we are moving forward with a different way of working, building on the work we have undertaken in recent months.

“We have a relentless ambition to continue to improve and deliver for the borough and are keen to further enhance our relationship with the people of South Tyneside so that services are relevant and fit for the future.

“I’m confident that with a strong team of elected members and officers we can achieve that.

“I also welcome champions to their new role and I’m delighted by their eagerness to bring a fresh approach to today’s challenges.”

The leader of the opposition was also confirmed at the meeting as Green Group leader Cllr David Francis.

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This follows the results of the May 2022 elections, where the Green Party gained three seats taking their numbers to six.

A full list of all council committees and members appointed to serve on outside bodies is available on the council’s website: