New leader appointed to steer stricken council

Birmingham City Council has confirmed its appointment of Joanne Roney CBE, as managing director of the plagued authority.

After spending the last seven years leading Manchester City Council as its first female CEO, Roney will return to her roots in the city, after growing up on a council estate in Shard End. She takes over from Deborah Cadman OBE who departed in March, after almost three years in charge. 

Cadman said it was always her intention to leave once the 2024/25 budget was agreed and the council had “a clear route to recovery and improvement”.

Joining as an apprentice at Birmingham City Council at age 16, Roney went on to hold Executive Director positions at two UK local authorities before becoming Chief Executive at Wakefield and most recently joined Manchester City Council in 2017.

In 2009 Roney was awarded an OBE and earlier this year a CBE, both for services to Local Government.

She will take on the newly created role of managing director at the council, tasked with overseeing the largest local authority in Europe, as it battles to balance the books to repay £1.255bn in Exceptional Financial Support (EFS) from the Government

Residents have been hit with a council tax increase over the current referendum limit from 4.99% to 9.99% for the next two years. The additional income for 2024/25 would reduce the £300m budget gap by just £21.8m.

The council has received £1.255bn in Exceptional Financial Support (EFS) from the Government, which must be paid back through £750m of asset sales.

It will help to tackle an equal pay liability above £867m, an overspend on IT system Oracle of £136m and support a £100m redundancy scheme when it cuts 600 jobs.

The bankrupt council has two years to balance its budget and make revenue savings of £293m. It’s now signed off where £226m will be saved with measures including dimming streetlights to save £900k, spending £12m less on maintaining roads and making waste collections fortnightly to save £4m.

Joanne Roney said: “I’ve loved my time in Manchester. It’s a wonderful city and I’m proud of what – together with colleagues, partners and the city’s political leadership – we’ve been able to achieve here. Whoever follows me as chief executive is inheriting an incredible role alongside a talented and dedicated leadership team.

“I might be an adopted Mancunian, and proud of it, but I’m a native Brummie and this was the only role which could have tempted me away. I began my career as an apprentice at Birmingham City Council at the age of 16 so the prospect of concluding it there as managing director, and helping the place where I grew up and my family still live rise to its current challenges, was a compelling one.”

Cllr John Cotton, Leader of Birmingham City Council said: “Joanne was the standout candidate to steer the council through its current challenges and transform it into an organisation that delivers consistently good services for the people and communities of Birmingham.

“She’s from Birmingham, knows and loves this city and is a committed public servant with a proven track record and a wealth of experience. I look forward to working with her as we strive to give the people of Birmingham the council and the future they deserve.”

Cllr Bev Craig, Leader of Manchester City Council, said: “I understand the emotional pull the Birmingham job has for Joanne and we wish her every success in her new role as she moves back home. We thank her for her service and her contribution to the city over the last seven years.

“As she would be the first to say, everything we do here is a team effort and she will leave behind a strong and talented management team with a clear vision of where the city is going, its strengths to be built upon and celebrated and the long-term challenges which we are addressing. It is, as ever, an exciting time in Manchester.”


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