鶹Ƶ

Management structure

The council management team is responsible for managing our staff's activities and advising councillors on the potential implications of political decisions. By law, senior council staff are not allowed to participate in any party political activity. They are expected to advise and help all councillors, regardless of their political affiliation.

The chief executive is the senior officer who leads and takes responsibility for the work of the paid staff of the council. The role of the chief executive is a full-time appointment. Post holders are selected on merit, against objective criteria, following public advertisement. They are appointed by the whole council.

The leader, together with the Cabinet, takes all of the significant decisions within the council (excluding planning and licensing issues) through their Cabinet meetings or individual decision-making process.

Professor Graeme Betts, Acting Chief Executive

Graeme Betts

Before joining 鶹Ƶ, Graeme has been a Chief Officer and Chief Executive in local government and the National Health Service (NHS) for around 20 years. He has extensive experience leading organisations, implementing national and local strategies, and managing major change. He was the ADASS lead for carers nationally for six years, leading on the development and implementation of policy on carers.

Graeme is a qualified executive coach and mentor. He was awarded his PhD in 1991 and published Local Government and Inequalities in Health the following year. He has published numerous articles on health and social care.

He was awarded an Honorary Professorship from the University of East London in June 2013 for outstanding contributions to the advancement of his profession through publications and the development of public policy and services. In the Queen’s Honours lists in 2021, Graeme was awarded a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) for services to Adult Social Care.

Rishi Shori, Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Intervention ResponseRishi Shori at the Council House. He is wearing a mid-blue suit and a pink tie. He is facing the camera and smiling. He is stood in front of a poster that says "welcome to 鶹Ƶ".

Rishi Shori is the current Deputy Chief Executive and Director of Intervention Response at 鶹Ƶ.

Rishi joined 鶹Ƶ in July 2019, having enjoyed an extensive career across local government in both corporate and political leadership roles.

He has held a number of senior roles at 鶹Ƶ with a focus upon supporting the council’s operational and political leadership with advice in the areas of corporate strategy, external affairs, and strategic relationship management. Rishi was appointed by Commissioners to lead the council's response to government intervention.

Rishi has also held senior political roles in local government having previously served as the Leader of Bury Metropolitan Borough Council and as a member of the leadership team of Mayor Andy Burnham at the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (with responsibility for Children & Young People and Social Cohesion).

Before working in local government, Rishi practised as a solicitor with over a decade's experience, specialising in Commercial Dispute Resolution.

As Deputy Chief Executive, Rishi's priority is to drive sustained improvement in the quality of services provided to 鶹Ƶ's citizens.

Craig Cooper, Strategic Director of City Operations

Craig Cooper

Craig had a strong track record in executive leadership, delivering high-impact change and transformation for public and private sector organisations on major projects with multi-stakeholder involvement, advocating for residents, driving performance and value.

He returned to the city having spearheaded the councils hugely successful 鶹Ƶ 2022 Commonwealth Games and now leads the City Operations team providing residents with services 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year, including:

  • public protection and licensing
  • highways and parking
  • waste services
  • community safety and criminal justice
  • coroners and registration services
  • parks, culture, sport and leisure and library services
  • events and community engagement and participation, including business improvement and ward forums

Craig has established strong links across the region and with national partners and proven collaborative approach to projecting the city and getting the very best outcomes putting resident voices at the heart of council business to drive the city's continued success.

Dr Justin Varney, Director of Public Health at 鶹Ƶ

Justin Varney

Dr Justin Varney is the Director of Public Health at 鶹Ƶ. He leads strategic plans to improve the health and wellbeing of its citizens in the largest local authority in the UK.

Originally trained as a General Practitioner (GP) before specialising in Public Health Medicine, he has worked at local, regional, national, and international levels of the public health system with experience as a clinician in both primary and secondary care.

Before joining 鶹Ƶ, Dr Varney led national programmes at Public Health England on physical activity, health and work, sexual and reproductive health, and HIV prevention. Other roles have involved LGBT inclusion advisor to the Department of Health and Metropolitan Police and co-chair of the Gay and Lesbian Association of Doctors and Dentists.

Justin co-authored the Bangkok Declaration on Physical Activity and Health and was involved in developing the World Health Organisation (WHO) Global Action Plan on Physical Activity. He is currently a Food Standards Agency Board member and a Special Advisor to the National Council for Health and Work. Regionally, he leads the West Midlands Association of Directors of Public Health on Diversity and Inclusion.

Dr Varney has published a range of academic papers and books, especially about physical activity and inequalities linked to sexual orientation. Justin holds an honorary professorship at the University of 鶹Ƶ as an honorary chair at the Institute of Applied Health Research. Justin was appointed to the Board of the Food Standards Agency in September 2022, and in 2023 was appointed to the Kings Fund General Advisory Council and UKRI External Advisory Group for Creating Opportunities.

In 2022 he was awarded honorary doctorates and fellowships by the University of 鶹Ƶ, City University 鶹Ƶ and University College 鶹Ƶ for his contribution to higher education during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. He recently completed an Executive Master of Business Administration (MBA) apprenticeship.

He lives in central 鶹Ƶ with his husband, a GP in East 鶹Ƶ.

Sue Harrison, Strategic Director of Children and Families

Sue Harrison, Strategic Director of Children and Families

Sue joined the council in November 2021. Previously the Director of Children's Services (DCS) at Central Bedfordshire Council and before that at Blackpool Council, Sue has a strong background in Children's Services improvement, developing strong and resilient leadership, and encouraging the adoption of strength-based approaches to ensuring children are at the heart of the council. She has a lifelong commitment to inclusion and ensuring that all children can thrive, whatever their circumstances.

An educationalist and experienced teacher, school leader and DCS, Sue is working to embrace and build on the foundations for a 21st century council while supporting the empowerment of communities and securing independence and improved outcomes for young people.

Sue supports the lifelong learning and skills agenda that goes beyond early years settings and schools, working across the further and higher education system and with the council and private regeneration services to ensure local young people can benefit from the career opportunities living in the forward-thinking, vibrant, diverse city of 鶹Ƶ.

A lifelong learner herself, Sue has recently completed her Professional Doctorate, researching to explore the relationship between personal and organisational resilience.

Paul Langford, Strategic Director of City Housing

Paul Langford

Paul began his career in the private sector, where he qualified as a Chartered Management Accountant and worked in the manufacturing industry within the 鶹Ƶ area. He later moved into the local authority sector, working his way up the ranks into more strategic and resident services areas of responsibility.

Over the last 20 years, Paul has undertaken Chief Officer and Strategic Director roles covering housing, regeneration, planning, community safety and a broad range of front-line resident services.

Paul spent the last 14 years of his career working in London. He enjoyed 10 years with the London Borough of Southwark throughout the challenging periods of the post-Grenfell and the recent pandemic, both of which saw Southwark take a leading role in coordinating and leading a London-wide response.

Richard Brooks, Director of Strategy, Equalities and Partnerships

Richard Brooks

Richard joined 鶹Ƶ in November 2021 to lead the new Strategy, Equality and Partnerships Directorate. He has established new capabilities in the council for generating insight, developing strategic thinking, citizen engagement, and partnership working.

His directorate works with other services to improve citizens' outcomes and promote equality and inclusion across the city. In November 2022, he launched the 鶹Ƶ City Observatory. He continues to lead the council's response to the cost of living crisis.

Before joining the council, Richard worked on a wide range of policy, strategy, research, and public service delivery challenges at local, national and international levels. He was Senior Adviser to the Secretary of State for Education, then Director of Strategy at Ofsted. He subsequently developed and implemented educational reform programmes in South Africa and Uganda.

Before working in government, Richard led award-winning research at the Institute for Public Policy Research and the Fabian Society. He has published extensively on poverty and welfare reform, public service improvement, education, economics, and employment. His work strongly focuses on equality and fairness and on using evidence to drive change and improvement.

James Thomas, Chief Executive of 鶹Ƶ Children's Trust

James Thomas, Chief Executive of 鶹Ƶ Children's Trust

James Thomas was the Corporate Director for Children and Culture at the London Borough of Tower Hamlets between 2020 and 2023, where he was also appointed to be Deputy Chief Executive.

Prior to that the substantive leadership roles that James held were:

  • Interim Chief Executive of the Northamptonshire Children’s Trust
  • Director of Children’s Services for the London Borough of Richmond
  • Director of Children’s Services for the Greater Manchester Borough of Tameside
  • Director of Children’s Services for the London Borough of Newham
  • Director of Family Services for Westminster City Council

James has for some years provided leadership for Association of Directors of Children’s Services on multi-agency safeguarding. He is a Non-Executive Director of the Innovation Unit.

James has maintained his status as a registered Social Worker. James’s core values are rooted in a commitment to public service, conviction of the need for social justice and to combat inequality and discrimination, and integrity in all he does.

He is a Londoner with family roots that encompass Wales, India, Cheshire, Ireland and Russia.

Katy Fox, Director of People Services (HR)

Katy Fox

 

Katy has worked in Human Resources across all aspects of the function for the last 25 years. Having lived in 鶹Ƶ, Katy graduated in Law from the University of Wolverhampton, and has worked in many private and public companies in strategic positions within her HR career. Her experience spans across drinks manufacturing, logistics, engineering, public services, healthcare, defence, and central and local government.

Katy is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (FCIPD), the highest achievement in practising HR at a strategic level and has held FCIPD designation for about 10 years. Katy leads the People Services function which brings together Human Resources, Organisational Development, and Health, Safety and Wellbeing.

Our People team should deliver cost effective HR services to our workforce to the highest quality and in the most timely way. We are here to ensure that our colleagues can do their work well and that they are able deliver the services the citizens of 鶹Ƶ deserve.

Marie Rosenthal, Interim City Solicitor and Monitoring Officer

Marie Rosenthal

 

Marie has over 40 years of local government experience working in a wide range of authorities across the country. As a qualified solicitor, her professional background has been in local government finance and housing. As a Monitoring Officer, she has extensive experience managing a wide range of corporate governance issues and undertaking constitutional reviews.

Marie has overall responsibility for ensuring the council remains legally compliant. She is also responsible for legal and governance service areas.

Legal services currently consist of 16 distinct specialist legal teams. The 16 areas covered deal with every aspect of Local Government Law, including Litigation, Public Law, Property and Social Care. The governance aspect of the department includes scrutiny, elections, committee services, political group support, and support to the Lord Mayors' Office.


Page last updated: 31 May 2024