COUNCIL LEADER: “New kind of leadership required” - County Hall chief executive leaves

Louise Goldsmith.
Louise Goldsmith.

West Sussex County Council employees received the shock news today that the local authority’s chief executive is to leave at the end of the month.

Today, all council employees received the following letter from council leader Louise Goldsmith:

“I am writing to you to inform you that Kieran Stigant will be leaving the County Council on 31 January 2014.

This might come as a surprise to many of you. Kieran has worked at the County Council for 22 years and been Chief Executive for the last three. He has been a committed, diligent and loyal chief officer and I have been very grateful for his support and counsel over the eight years that I’ve been a member of the Cabinet.

As I said at Full Council in mid-December, the Cabinet and I are indebted to the sterling efforts of Kieran and each and every one of you in bringing us successfully through the three year £79million savings programme that we completed this year.

However, Kieran and I are agreed that there are new challenges facing the council which require a new kind of leadership. And we are agreed that this is the right time for both Kieran and for West Sussex County Council to implement that change. We have successfully delivered the £79million savings programme, we have agreed our political priorities and focus to 2018 and have commissioning plans to deliver the outcomes we have agreed. We have also outlined a two year savings programme which goes some way to delivering the £141 million that this council must save to be able to continue to balance our books.

Despite the obvious challenges that the savings programme will bring, the County Council is in good shape. But we have to fundamentally change the way that we do things if we are to be able to achieve the ambitious outcomes we want for the County and achieve the savings that are required. I intend that the Council will appoint an interim Chief Operating Officer from the current senior leadership team to cover the day to day work of the Chief Executive and we will be appointing a new post of interim Transformation Director very soon. The Transformation Director will be tasked with carrying on the Future Council work that Kieran and his team have started into the next phase. This will enable us to become the commissioning council to which we aspire and to which we need to move to meet the new challenges facing the authority and the communities we serve.

I appreciate that this will be unsettling news for many of you. I will be holding a series of staff meetings in the coming weeks to further elaborate on reasons why I think we need to make changes in order to be able to meet the challenges ahead.”