'Of the highest calibre': Praise from councillors as West Northamptonshire Council's first chief executive formally appointed

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Chairman: 'I think all members will realise once she's in post what a formidable character she is'

The first chief executive for West Northamptonshire Council was hailed by councillors as she was formally appointed this week.

Anna Earnshaw was voted through as the new civil leader of the shadow unitary authority, which will take over from the other councils next year, at a meeting on Wednesday (August 18).

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Council chairman Chris Millar described the overwhelming vote as a very clear endorsement for Northamptonshire County Council's deputy chief executive and director of adult services to take over the reins from October 1.

The first chief executive of West Northants Council, Anna EarnshawThe first chief executive of West Northants Council, Anna Earnshaw
The first chief executive of West Northants Council, Anna Earnshaw

"We all congratulate Anna on achieving that outcome and I, like many others who know her well, are sure she's a very good choice and wish her all the very, very best for her time ahead," he said.

"I think all members will realise once she's in post what a formidable character she is and I think, along with the political leadership, we'll be a force to be reckoned with in west Northamptonshire and beyond."

The local government structure in Northamptonshire is being changed from the current two-tier system into two unitary authorities because of the financial collapse of the county council in 2018.

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West Northamptonshire Council will replace Northampton, South Northamptonshire and Daventry councils while North Northamptonshire Council will take over Wellingborough, Kettering, Corby and East Northamptonshire local authorities.

A total of 25 people applied to be the new chief executive role and the 'robust' recruitment process concluded with a 'comprehensive' assessment day involving representative from various sectors, according to the council.

Ms Earnshaw is said to have a career in leadership across the public and private sector, with experience of business change and transformation in addition to the social care and health -agenda over the last four years - she is also already heavily involved in the Future Northants programme.

Daventry district and county councillor, Adam Brown, said: "I regard Anna as someone who's extremely competent, very straightforward and very diligent in the work she does.

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"Having read through the CVs of the final stage applicants, I'm confident that the committee that undertook this work did so in the right fashion and we've got an exceptional chief executive lined up for the start of our new council.

"As anyone who's held a leadership position at a council will know, as you have Mr Chairman, the chief executive is of paramount importance.

"I think we can now go forward with confidence into the start of the existence of West Northamptonshire Council having attained the services of someone who is of the highest calibre."

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