Trafford Trio working to turn around Northamptonshire County Council

Theresa Grant, Ian Duncan and Paul Helbsy have all joined NCC from Trafford Council.
Theresa Grant, Ian Duncan and Paul Helbsy have all joined NCC from Trafford Council.

Northamptonshire county council’s chief executive Theresa Grant has been joined by two senior colleagues from her former authority.

Ian Duncan is the new chief finance officer, taking over from Mark McLaughlin who left last month and Paul Helsby has been brought into a new senior role of director of transformation.

He has the task of taking the lead on a number of the transformation projects that have been devised as part of the plan to get the council on a right financial footing ahead of the anticipated move to unitary governance in May 2020.

Both previously worked with Theresa Grant at Trafford council. Ian Duncan was finance director before moving onto other roles and Paul Helsby worked in programme assurance.

He has also worked at a senior level at Manchester City Council and was involved in planning the 2002 Commonwealth Games in Manchester.

Speaking recently to industry magazine Public Finance Ian Duncan described the job as the biggest challenge of his career.

He said: “There will still be public scrutiny around the decisions being made but I would hope get to the point where we are not in the headlines for any mismanagement of our financial position.

Liberal Democrat county councillor Chris Stanbra said: “It is a big challenge and I hope they achieve everything that has been asked of them.”

The senior team and the two commissioners Tony McArdle and Brian Roberts are being asked to rectify former financial failings, which left the council with a £35 million deficit last year as well as make further savings of £65 million.

No additional money appears to be coming to the authority from central government and a motion by the labour party to ask Government to reverse next year’s planned £1.3 billion local government cuts was not backed by the conservative ruling administration yesterday.

There have been a large number of personnel changes at senior officer level at the county council in the past 12 months.

The authority has had three chief executives this year, two of whom were interim and also has had the same number of chief finance officers.

Director of the children’s department Lesley Hagger left the authority in June to join another authority and her replacement alter McCulloch has taken sick leave and another acting director, Sharon Muldoon is now in the role.

The former managing director of First for Wellbeing Janet Doran has also left the authority.