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Management structure

The council management team is responsible for managing the activities of our staff and for advising councillors on the potential implications of political decisions. By law, senior council staff are not allowed to participate in any party political activity and are expected to advise and help all councillors irrespective of their political affiliation.

The Chief Executive is the senior officer who leads and takes responsibility for the work of the paid staff of the council. The role of Chief Executive is a full time appointment. Post holders are selected on merit, against objective criteria, following public advertisement. They are appointed by the whole council.

The Leader, together with the Cabinet, takes all of the significant decisions within the council (excluding planning and licensing issues) through their Cabinet meetings or individual decision-making process.

You can view the interactive senior management structure chart

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Please contact us by email for accessible information about our management structure.

Deborah Cadman OBE, Interim Chief Executive

Photo of Deborah Cadman OBE, interim chief executive

Deborah has more than 30 years’ experience in public services. Prior to her appointment at Birmingham City Council, Deborah was Chief Executive of the West Midlands Combined Authority. Previous senior roles also include Head of Policy at Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council, and Local Government Advisor to the Ministerial Team at the Department of Environment, Transport and the Regions.

Following roles as the Audit Commission's Best Value Service Lead Inspector for the London region and Chief Executive for St Edmundsbury Borough Council and the East of England Development Agency, Deborah was Chief Executive of Suffolk County Council from 2011 to 2017.

She was born and bred in Birmingham and attended the University of Birmingham. Deborah has a degree in politics as well as a master’s degree in economics and a further master’s degree in management practice.

Deborah received an OBE in 2006 for services to local government.  She was recently high commended in the Chief Executive of the Year category at the Inclusive Companies Awards 2019.

She is a trustee of the Joseph Rowntree Trust and Joseph Rowntree Housing Foundation, and as a dedicated and passionate female advocate at the forefront of the public sector, Deborah recently won the First Women Award for Public Service.

Deborah is also a Commissioner for the Smart Government Commission and recently joined the Reform Advisory Board.

Deborah is listed in Local Government Chronicle’s ‘100 Most Influential in the Sector’.

Professor Graeme Betts, Director, Adult Social CareGraeme Betts, Interim Corporate Director

Before joining Birmingham City Council, Graeme had been a chief officer and chief executive in local government and the NHS for around 20 years and has extensive experience of leading organisations, implementing national and local strategies and managing major change.

Graeme is a qualified executive coach and mentor. He was awarded his PhD 1991 and published Local Government and Inequalities in Health the following year. He has published numerous articles on health and social care.

He was awarded an Honorary Professorship from the University of East London in June 2013 for outstanding contributions to the advancement of his profession through publications and the development of public policy and services.

Dawn Hewins, Director Human Resources

Photo of Dawn Hewins, Director of Human ResourcesDawn joined the team in 2016. Her experience spans a range of areas and she leads human resources, organisational development, health and safety, occupational health, and HR services to schools and academies, as well as the council’s employee support scheme.

Dawn has a keen interest in modernising services and improving them for customers, by reshaping the teams that she leads and making efficiency savings. Dawn has worked in both private and public sectors, she is currently implementing the council’s workforce strategy alongside a new HR and finance system.

Suzanne Dodd, City Solicitor and Monitoring Officer

Portrait of Suzanne Dodd

Suzanne is a qualified solicitor who has worked in Local Government Legal Services for 18 years, having senior management roles in four unitary/County Councils over the last 13 years.

Suzanne is a strategic and transformative leader, and has delivered numerous change programmes, transforming legal services into modern award winning departments.

Rebecca Hellard, Interim Director, Finance and Governance

Rebecca Hellard, Interim Director, Finance and GovernanceBecky is a qualified accountant and has worked in local government approaching 30 years, having held permanent and interim positions in Core Cities, Metropolitan authorities, County Unitaries and London Boroughs.

Becky joined the council at the start of October 2019, with a focus on leading the delivery of financial improvement plans across the council, strengthening the strategic approach to the budget, and delivering financial resilience.

Director Education and Skills

Details to be updated in due course.

Ian MacLeod, Interim Director Inclusive Growth

Photo of Ian MacLeod, Director of Inclusive GrowthIan has held senior positions at the city council for over 15 years. Ian is responsible for a wide portfolio that covers property, planning, housing development, business and enterprise, highways and transport infrastructure.

With a focus on driving investment and delivering regeneration, Ian has delivered a number of key regeneration schemes including the Advanced Manufacturing Hub in Aston which has, to date, delivered over 1,200 jobs and £50million of private sector investment and emerging the Masterplans for the NEC and the life science campus in Selly Oak.

With lead responsibility for delivering the Athletes Village for the 2022 Commonwealth Games, Ian will also capitalise on this opportunity to further accelerate local housing delivery, with 1,500 additional new homes before the Games even begin, with an additional 2,000 homes released once the athletes have gone home.

Dr Peter Bishop, Director Digital and Customer Services

Peter Bishop, Director, Digital and Customer ServicesSince completing his PhD, Peter has worked in many Commercial and Public Sector organisations, leading and managing services as diverse as Property, HR, Finance, Revenues and Benefits, Pensions, Customer Services, Legal, Technology and Information Management. He leads the development and implementation of the council’s ICT and Digital and Citizen access strategies and is also responsible for the Information, Technology, Revenues, Rents, Benefits and Customer Services teams.

His team’s purpose is to lead, shape and deliver high quality council services, enabled by great digital solutions – making a positive difference every day to customers, businesses and visitors to Birmingham. Peter lives in the Black Country and is passionate about sustainable transport; he enjoys cycling in the city and region.

Rob James, Managing Director City Operations

Rob James, Acting Director Neighbourhoods

Rob James has devoted his career to the public sector and has held various positions in the field of environmental services and waste management, and as housing director with Birmingham City Council.

As Acting Director of Neighbourhoods, Rob’s remit included responsibility for housing, waste, culture and visitor economy, sports, events, open spaces, neighbourhoods and communities and regulatory and enforcement services. Rob is the lead for tackling city centre management issues. His key priority is community and neighbourhood development, linking to improved outcomes re jobs and skills, health, economic growth, young people and children, and housing and homes.

Dr Justin Varney, Director Public Health

Photo of Justin Varney, Director of Public HealthJustin joined the council in spring 2019. He is responsible for protecting and improving the health of Birmingham’s citizens and leads on equality, inclusion and community cohesion at the council; Justin is also the corporate champion for LGBT inclusion and social mobility – and the Caldicott Guardian.

Before joining the council, Justin was the National Lead for Adult Health and Wellbeing at Public Health England. He is a qualified doctor, originally training in general practice before specialising in public health medicine. In 2018, Justin was awarded Honorary Fellowship of the Faculty of Occupational Medicine and he has also received a lifetime achievement award from the Gay and Lesbian Association of Doctors and Dentists for his work on LGBT health inequalities. Justin lives in Birmingham with his husband, who is a local GP, and is thoroughly enjoying the cultural and culinary offerings of our city

Craig Cooper, Programme Director, Commonwealth GamesCraig Cooper, Programme Director, Commonwealth Games

Craig comes to Birmingham to support the council’s work on the Commonwealth Games 2022 with a strong track record in executive leadership, delivering high impact change and transformation strategies for public and private sector organisations on major projects with multi-stakeholder involvement.

He joins the city council from Sopra Steria, a European leader in consulting, digital services and software development.

Prior to that, Craig has worked in a range of roles including as a Transformation Director and a Delivery Director for Capita, bringing a wealth of local government experience during his time as Commercial Director at the London Borough of Barnet. Craig has also served in the British Army.

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