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Jane Portman is appointed as South Somerset District Council’s new Chief Executive

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South Somerset District Council has appointed Jane Portman as its Chief Executive Officer after the decision was agreed by Full Council last night (July 8).

Jane will be taking the position on an interim basis for an 18-month period and will join the council on August 16.

Council Leader Val Keitch said: “We are incredibly excited to have Jane join us and we are sure that her broad experience and clear leadership skills will be immensely beneficial to us as we await the Government’s decision on the future of local government services in Somerset.

“We have a range of projects to deliver for the benefit for our communities from our plans to regenerate Yeovil, Chard and Wincanton to leading the recovery of our communities from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and playing our part in tackling the climate crisis.

“Whilst there is some uncertainty ahead for the Council, we are very confident that Jane will lead this council effectively to ensure the services we offer continue to improve and that the Council’s ambitions for South Somerset and the needs of communities are delivered through priority projects and programmes.

“Jane and our Senior Leadership Team will also ensure that change in local government in Somerset is taken forward successfully, whatever its shape, though clearly our preference, and the preference of Somerset residents, is to see the creation of two new unitary councils.”

Jane became Managing Director of Bournemouth Council in April 2017, after 10 years as an Executive Director at the Council, and following four years working at Borough of Poole Council.

During her time at Bournemouth, Jane was instrumental in creating the county-wide Aspire Adoption Agency and adult social care provider Tricuro, as well as turning around the Bournemouth education system. She also played a leading role in the local government reorganisation programme across Dorset which led to the recent creation of two new unitary councils.

South Somerset District Council’s current Chief Executive, Alex Parmley, has resigned to take up a role as Chief Executive of Waitaki District Council in New Zealand after successfully overseeing a transformation programme, and a wide range of other initiatives and projects.

Nicola Hix, director of Strategy and Support Services, will fulfil the statutory role of Head of Paid Service for the period from July 12 to August 16 while Jill Byron, the council’s legal and monitoring officer, has been appointed as Returning Officer and Electoral Registration Officer for South Somerset District Council on an interim basis for an 18 month period.

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