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Leadership shake-up sees familiar face take top job after report found ‘serious concerns’

PUBLISHED: 12:01 16 April 2020 | UPDATED: 14:04 16 April 2020

Steve Blatch, left, has become the new cheif executive at North Norfolk District Council. He was previously one of the council's two corporate directors and head of paid service along with Nick Baker, right, who has left the council following a restructure. Images: NNDC/Ella Wilkinson

Steve Blatch, left, has become the new cheif executive at North Norfolk District Council. He was previously one of the council's two corporate directors and head of paid service along with Nick Baker, right, who has left the council following a restructure. Images: NNDC/Ella Wilkinson

Archant

A Norfolk council has revamped its leadership structure, putting one person in charge of its paid service rather than two.

Sarah Butikofer. Picture: NNDCSarah Butikofer. Picture: NNDC

Steve Blatch, who has worked at North Norfolk District Council for 25 years, has been appointed its chief executive.

Mr Blatch was previously the authority’s head of paid service, a role he held jointly with Nick Baker, who has now left the council after 17 years.

Mr Blatch said he wanted to use the role to inspire the council’s “loyal and dedicated” workforce.

He said: “Much of what they do is unseen and their commitment in responding to the current coronavirus emergency demonstrates their passion for both the council and the communities we serve.”

North Norfolk District Council's headquarters in Holt Road, Cromer. Picture: Stuart AndersonNorth Norfolk District Council's headquarters in Holt Road, Cromer. Picture: Stuart Anderson

The report recommending the restructure was approved by councillors in January.

It followed the council bringing in a £1,000-a-day consultant, Peter Thomas Ltd, in May to look at how well things were working there.

The report made a series of damning findings including “serious concerns” about a “weak and divided” senior leadership.

But findings were rejected by the opposition Conservatives, who controlled the council from 2011 to November 2018.

Steve Blatch, North Norfolk District Council's new chief executive. Image: Archant librarySteve Blatch, North Norfolk District Council's new chief executive. Image: Archant library

The council’s leader, Lib Dem councillor Sarah Butikofer, said Mr Blatch’s promotion was “richly deserved”.

“Steve has worked extremely hard to support all of the work of the council over many years and knows the district and the challenges it faces well.

“In more recent weeks Steve has led the outstanding response by all of our staff to our preparations in meeting the considerable challenge of helping the council and the people of North Norfolk to respond to the coronavirus crisis.”

Mrs Butikofer added: “I can confirm that as part of our on-going senior management restructuring here at North Norfolk District Council, Nick Baker has opted to take voluntary redundancy and step down as corporate director and head of paid service.

Nick Baker, who has left North Norfolk District Council after 17 years. Picture: Ella WilkinsonNick Baker, who has left North Norfolk District Council after 17 years. Picture: Ella Wilkinson

“Everyone at NNDC would like to thank Nick for his 17 years of service to the council and wish him the very best of luck for the future.”

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Mr Blatch has also held roles at the council including economic development manager and head of regeneration and strategic director.


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