Wirral Council's new chief executive - a good choice
A clear vision with an ability to take people with him. That's pretty much the best description I could give to Graham Burgess as someone who has worked with him for the last ten years.
A lot of people in his position have a vision but simply use their position to encourage or often coerce people to support it. Graham is very different as he has an uncanny knack of persuading people to support his cause. Partnership development is his strong point and through this he has been able to achieve so much in his time at Blackburn with Darwen.
Rarely can you see someone's vision so clearly as you can with Graham as all you need to do is take a stroll around parts of Blackburn with Darwen and its is there for all to see. The transformation of the town centre for example is astonishing, particularly when you consider it is still being delivered during a time of recession. Contrast this with many other town centres who have had to shelve or scrap similar plans.
Graham's ability to identify the solution to a problem and then deliver that solution is second to none. When you consider the reputation Blackburn with Darwen has amongst civil servants, politicians, national journalists and other key figures it is hard to believe it is a relatively small unitary authority. Yet despite this, the Council was voted Council of the Year last year, had its chief executive ranked the 4th most important person in local government and been held as sector leads in health partnerships, leisure initiatives and community relations. Graham himself has been involved with national discussions on health reforms and social care, is the only chief executive to chair the counter terrorism board and one of the only council chief executives to jointly manage a local authority and NHS organisation. As a result he is regularly asked for his opinions on a range of local government related subjects and it comes as no surprise to me that he's been offered this position.
So what will he bring to the Wirral? I personally think he will bring this inclusive approach to his work there. He'll quickly identify what the problems have been, who will be there to help him resolve the problems and then quickly work to develop the council so it achieves its potential. He's always lived in Liverpool and watches Everton week in week out so working back in Merseyside will excite him no doubt. One thing is certain, he'll be relishing the challenge I'm sure of that.