Key announcements

Our council tax and benefits online systems and forms may be unavailable on Saturday 21 May between 8am and 2pm due to planned maintenance. Details of how to offer support to Ukraine residents fleeing war, and where to find information and advice are on our City of Sanctuary webpage

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.

Deborah Cadman OBE, Interim Chief Executive

Deborah Cadman

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.

Satinder Sahota, Acting City Solicitor and Monitoring Officer

Previously, our Acting Assistant Director for Legal Services and Deputy Monitoring Officer, Satinder shall take on the role as Acting City Solicitor and Monitoring Officer from 17 January 2022.

The permanent recruitment for the City Solicitor post is underway with a view to an appointment in May or June.

Rebecca Hellard, Director Council Management

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.

Sue Harrison, Director Children and Families

Sue joined the council in October 2021.Sue Harrison Director Education and Skills

Previously, the Director of Children's Services at Central Bedfordshire Council. Sue has a strong background in addressing improvements in transformation and addressing exploitation/radicalisation agendas.

An educationalist at heart, Sue has joined the Council as Director of Children and Families to embrace and build on the foundations for a 21st century council, while supporting the empowerment of your communities and secure improved outcomes for young people.

Sue supports the skills agenda that goes beyond schools and works across the further and higher education system, and with council and private regeneration services, to ensure local children can benefit from the career opportunities living in the forward thinking, vibrant, diverse city of Birmingham.

Paul Kitson, Director, Place, Prosperity and Sustainability

Paul KitsonPaul started his career in community led programmes with Groundwork and within Housing Associations before joining the pre-cursors to Homes England. He has delivered a number of major and £multi-million projects where he has led the agencies high growth and major programmes.

Paul joined the council in January 2022 with a drive to develop and lead the ambitious programmes at the heart of the council’s strategies and identify how to organise, build, and develop to ensure this delivery.

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. Rob was appointed as Managing Director City Operations in April 2021.

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.

Julie Griffin, Managing Director City Housing

Julie is a strategic, proactive and highly influential Senior housing specialist with over 29 years’ experience working in the public sector most recently to deliver whole system transformation around housing the future of Birmingham. A highly skilled housing professional with over 20 years’ experience in housing including front line delivery, redesign and remodelling assets, developing new schemes, whole place regeneration, transformation of front-line services to provide a significantly improved experience to customers and tenants. Proven expertise in leading substantial, cutting edge, transformational change programmes that received national recognition by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and an award of a £5million grant.

Julie took the reins of our Managing Director of Housing in May 2021 with a vision to transform the City Housing directorate to become the best in class.

Richard Brooks, Director Strategy Equalities and Partnerships.

Richard is a highly experienced strategic specialist with a strong and steadfast career encompassing senior domestic and international experience in public policy and strategy, research, insight generation and public service delivery.

Richard developed in research with the IPPR and the Fabian Society before moving into central government as Senior Adviser to the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families. He then became Director of Strategy at Ofsted, where he led the strategy, research, data and analysis functions and held extensive operational delivery responsibilities. 

Richard acted as Self Employed Advisor for Kivu International before moving to join the Council in November 2021as the new Director of Strategy, Equality and Partnerships.

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