New leadership team expected to be at the helm of Northumberland County Council

County Hall in Morpeth County Hall in Morpeth
County Hall in Morpeth
A new-look top team is expected to be at the helm of Northumberland County Council as the ruling Conservative group uses the change in leadership to reshape its cabinet of senior councillors.
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Cllr Glen Sanderson became deputy leader after the resignation of Cllr Wayne Daley in August, and then acting leader in the wake of Cllr Jackson’s dismissal.

And on Friday, September 11, the Conservative group officially elected Cllr Sanderson as its leader with Cllr Richard Dodd, the current business chairman, as deputy.

However, the council leader has to be voted in by the full council, so Cllr Sanderson will need to be backed by a majority of members at next week’s meeting.

Alongside the new leadership team, some changes are being proposed to the portfolios of the cabinet members, which includes the creation of an equality and diversity champion – an area which was previously part of the adult health and wellbeing role.

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The rest of the adult wellbeing portfolio remains much as it was, with Cllr Jeff Watson having taken on the role following the resignation of Cllr Veronica Jones in August.

However, there is also a newly named ‘Healthy Lives’ portfolio, which replaces in large part the arts, culture, leisure and tourism post, which has been vacant since Cllr Cath Homer resigned in August.

It covers the likes of leisure centres, sport, play, cycling and walking, arts, culture and heritage, but the responsibility for tourism will move to a business and tourism portfolio, together with all of the previous responsibilities of the economic development post, held by Cllr Richard Wearmouth.

Assuming he is elected as leader next week, Cllr Sanderson will continue to be responsible for the likes of roads, waste, transport and climate change, with the separate environment and local services post disappearing.

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Cllr Dodd, as deputy leader, will also become cabinet secretary and will be responsible for public health as he continues as chairman of the health and wellbeing board.

The previous cabinet secretary was Cllr Nick Oliver, who also had responsibility for corporate services; this portfolio is set to remain the same, as is the case for children’s services, which was taken over by Cllr Guy Renner-Thompson after Cllr Daley’s resignation.

Cllr John Riddle’s planning, housing and resilience portfolio is to be renamed as community services.

There will continue to be a business chairman and a deputy business chairman, although a new chairman will need to be chosen to replace Cllr Dodd, or a new deputy if Cllr Barry Flux moves into the chair.

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The new portfolios are: Leader; deputy leader and cabinet secretary; corporate services; adult wellbeing; community services; business and tourism; children and young people; healthy lives; business chairman; deputy business chairman; equality and diversity champion.

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