New interim Chief Executive for Birmingham City Council

Published: Wednesday, 1st April 2020

The City Council has today announced the appointment of Chris Naylor as interim Chief Executive as part of an agreement with Barking and Dagenham Council, where he is currently fulfilling that role.

He will be joining the City Council full-time from mid-May and the arrangement will last for 12 months.

The City Council has been on a journey of improvement since the Birmingham Improvement Panel left a year ago and has been working with a panel of specialist Non-Executive Advisors since. The appointment of an Interim Chief Executive is a key part of the progress the council has been making.

Cllr Ian Ward, Leader of Birmingham City Council said: “It was important for us to take the time to find the right person for Birmingham, and I know in Chris we have found that.

“It is even more important that we get the appointment right now given the challenging circumstances we all find ourselves in. The next twelve months will be some of the most demanding we have ever seen, and Chris will strengthen a team who are already working incredibly hard to support our most vulnerable during this difficult time.

“This arrangement is a great reflection on how the local government family works together to offer mutual support, sharing the best ideas and the best people. I look forward to working with Chris and thank Barking and Dagenham for being so accommodating.”

Cllr Darren Rodwell, Leader of Barking and Dagenham Council said: “This is a challenging time for the whole country and once again, local government is pulling together in a national effort to support local communities as best they can. Organisations that can support others should do so because we are all in this together.

“I’m pleased to say that in Barking and Dagenham we are playing our part. In recent years we’ve built an award-winning team. We have a really strong foundation to continue getting the job done and moving the borough forwards. Chris has made a huge difference in Barking and Dagenham so he’s exactly what Birmingham needs right now.”

Chris Naylor, said of his secondment: “I’m going to miss Barking and Dagenham terribly, as it’s a place like no other. But I’ve huge confidence in our brilliant leadership team to keep the show on the road and continue delivering for the borough’s residents.

“It’s a huge privilege to be joining BCC at this time and I’m excited to have an opportunity to help the City and its people reach their full potential.”

Mr Naylor will be seconded to the City Council for up to 12 months, in an arrangement supported by the Local Government Association and the Ministry of Housing Local Government and Communities.

Mark Lloyd, Chief Executive of the Local Government Association, said: “The whole team in Barking and Dagenham has a record of outstanding achievement in recent years built on solid foundations able to weather the current COVID-19 crisis and thrive afterwards. This is a great example of councils helping each other out.”

Mr Naylor will join the Council in mid-May, subject to ratification at Full Council, after a period of handover to his Barking and Dagenham colleagues to ensure that the council’s response to COVID 19 is secure.


Background notes

In recent years Barking and Dagenham has achieved a vast array of national awards; twice winning the title Council of the Year in 2018 at the LGC awards and again in 2020 at the Public Sector Transformation Awards.

It currently holds Silver Investors in People status, recently won two Gold awards at the Public Sector Transformation Awards, for its work on community focus and its use of data in decision making and understanding community need. In the last two years alone the council has won national awards for its innovation in social housing, its work to drive growth at an unprecedented pace and scale, and its work to completely transform the way the council works.

Aside from the awards, Barking and Dagenham looks unrecognisable from just a few years ago. The borough opened London’s first ever Youth Zone in 2019, which had nearly 7,000 members in its first year, and Coventry Uni – voted the top modern university 2013-2019 - now has a base in the borough, offering flexible learning from the council’s former civic centre. Nine out of 10 schools are currently rated Good or Outstanding by Ofsted.

The borough is also progressing with plans to house London’s iconic markets – Billingsgate, Smithfield and Spitalfields, and is building London’s first new film studio in Dagenham. Nextdoor, it is working with UCL Pearl to create a state of the art research centre, and with NTT to establish this site as a nationally recognised centre for media, data and engineering.

Barking and Dagenham is also a borough of many firsts. It was the first to secure a borough wide illegal encampment injunction, and its legal team secured the highest ever maximum penalty fine in a successful court case against retailer B&M for underage knife sales.

It was also the first to launch a partnership with online retailer AO to provide an innovative solution to dumped white goods, and the first to establish an online Wall of Shame in a bid to tackle fly-tipping by identifying rubbish dumpers caught in the act. And it was the first to launch Every One Every Day – a £7.2million project that is the country’s largest and most innovative approach to community participation. Every week, this project brings residents together to share, learn and create – in ways that make a real difference to the local community.

The borough is also building new homes that are truly affordable for its residents – and by 2023 will create 3,000 homes at Barking Riverside - the equivalent of a new town the size of York – while in the last year alone, prevented 480 local households from being homeless.

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