As it appears that WAG Local Government Minister, Carl Sargeant, has privately asked the Members of the Anglesey Recovery Board to become Commissioners in the case that the new Alliance fails, its time to take a look at the CVs of our possible future Viceroys.
Peppered amongst the various Public Sector grandees who have somehow managed to cling on to the gravy train post-retirement, there are couple of very interesting characters here: notable Dr Zoë Radnor and Mel Usher. Both appear to have an impressive track record in bringing radical thinking to Local Government - exactly what Anglesey County Council needs. Prof. Closs Stephens, the Chair of the Recovery Board, also appears to be very capable - but one would question why someone who has spent her career specialising in Culture, Media and TV would be the obvious choice to advise on reforming a failing council...
Anyway, take a look for yourself:
Prof. Elan Closs Stephens CBE, chair of the Recovery Board
Professor of Communications and Creative Industries at Aberystwyth University’s Department of Theatre Film and Television. She also acts as Director of Enterprise and Knowledge Transfer to enable research projects with industry partners. She has a background in providing strategic leadership and support to cultural and media organisations.
In 1998, Elan became the Chair of the S4C Authority, a Department for Culture Media and Sport appointment that was renewed for a second term from 2002-2006. In 2006, she chaired the Stephens Report on the financing and structure of the arts in Wales for the Welsh Assembly Government. She was a Governor of the British Film Institute until 2007 and Chair of its Audit and Governance during the recent major refurbishment of the Southbank National Film Theatre. She has also chaired Chwarae Teg, a body that promotes the economic development of women.
Currently, she chairs the Wales Advisory Committee of the British Council where she was a main Board Trustee until 2008. She is a Board member of the Film Agency for Wales and a Trustee/Board member of Arts & Business UK.
Elan was born in Talysarn, in the Nantlle Valley, Gwynedd, educated at Ysgol Dyffryn Nantlle . She was an Open Scholar at Somerville College, Oxford and the first woman to chair the Dafydd ap Gwilym Society. She married Dr Roy Stephens who died in 1989. She has two grown-up children. She received a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2001 for services to broadcasting and the Welsh Language. She is a fluent Welsh speaker.
Labour politician and AM for Cardiff North from 1999 until she retired in 2007. During her time in the Welsh Assembly Government she was Minister for Finance, Local Government and Public Services from 2003-2007. Was Leader of Cardiff City Council at one point. She is 64 years old.
Retired in June 2009 as Assistant Chief Constable, Gwent Police, after thirty years’ service as a police officer in the Gwent and Dyfed Powys forces.
Richard Parry Hughes
Farmer from the Llŷn peninsula and lifelong member of Plaid Cymru. Was a councillor at Gwynedd County Council from 1992 until 2008, during which time he served seven years as a deputy leader and was leader from 2003. He was also the spokesperson for the environment and planning to the Welsh Local Government Association for four years prior to 2008. He is now a member of the North Wales Police Authority. A fluent Welsh speaker.
Dr Zoë Radnor
Associate Professor at Warwick Business School. Radnor's research and publications are in the areas of performance measurement and management, improvement and innovation for both private and public sector. Zoe is currently a Management Practice Advanced Institute of Management (AIM) Fellow considering sustainability of Lean in public services. Previously, she has been Project Manager of a research project for the Scottish Executive which evaluated how 'lean' techniques were and could be used in the public sector. She has also led an evaluation of the implementation of Lean and associated techniques in Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) as well as in three HealthCare organisations within one region. She is also leading a research project 'SLIM' which aims to develop a Strategic Lean Implementation Methodology for Hospitals. Radnor presents, advises and sits on a number of boards and committees for organisations such as the Audit Commission, Welsh Assembly Government, Government Skills, HMRC, Local Authorities and HM Court Services.
Usher has a rich background in local government, having worked in planning, urban regeneration and community development at Tower Hamlets, Islington, West Lancashire, Wigan, Blackburn and South Somerset - where we was Chief Executive for a time.
In the late 1990s Usher came up with the concept of an improvement agency for local government, which was taken up by the Local Government Association and in government circles, and was appointed the Local Government Improvement and Development Agency (IDeA)’s first chief executive. During his three eventful years in charge of the agency, he helped to change the face of local government, championing peer review/learning, e-government, member and officer development and targeted assistance for failing authorities.
Over the last five years Usher has extended his skills, now trained in mediation and transactional analysis he has specialised in working at the highest levels in local government. Amongst many others he has helped to appoint chief executives or whole management teams in authorities as far apart as Sunderland and Somerset, North Norfolk and Carlisle and Swindon and Lincolnshire.
He has worked with top teams in London boroughs, metropolitan districts, unitaries and districts. He specialises in chief executive appraisals, mentoring members and senior staff, assisting politicians in determining new priorities and sorting out unique knotty problems for individual authorities.
Former Chief Inspector of Social Services for Wales and Director of the NHS in Mid and West Wales. Graham retired as the Assembly Government’s Director of Social Services in July 2009. A fluent Welsh speaker.