Charlie Parker is set to leave his post as Chief Executive of Oldham Council to take up one of the top jobs in Local Government. The 52-year-old has today been recommended for appointment to the post of Chief Executive at Westminster City Council. The recommendation will go before a Full Council meeting at Westminster on September 26 and, subject to approval, he would replace Mike More, who is stepping down at the end of 2013.
Mr Parker joined Oldham Council in October 2008 and has overseen a period of rapid recovery and transformation that has earned national recognition – including being named ‘Most Improved Council’ at the 2012 Local Government Chronicle (LGC) Awards. His tenure has seen the introduction of major innovative service improvements and an estimated £500 million of investment has also been attracted to the Borough – all at the same time as finding budget savings of around £140m.
Jim McMahon, Oldham Council Leader, said: “When Charlie arrived here we agreed across political parties that Oldham Council needed to change: it was time to put Oldham above petty party politics which had dogged the Borough for too long. Charlie was clear that to see real change it would take five-years to make the Council fit-for-purpose again, kickstart regeneration and deliver the town we all know we can be. He has delivered on both counts and set Oldham on a journey that residents, businesses and partners are starting to see the results of on the ground.
“Our achievements here have clearly caught people’s attention because the post that he is taking is one of the very top local government jobs in the country. On a personal level I have been fortunate to have worked with one of the very best in local government and someone who has public service in his blood. Charlie has left us in good shape and more confident and determined than ever to take the next steps in the improvement journey that he has helped Oldham to make.”
Mr Parker, who is also Chief Executive for the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority – and the regional lead on Low Carbon and Green issues – was selected for the Westminster post this week after a rigorous recruitment process. An agreed start date in his new role – and arrangements for the appointment of a successor at Oldham Council – will be released at a later date.
Oldham Council has gone from the lowest resident satisfaction in the country (23 per cent in 2008) to 63 per cent in 2012 under Mr Parker’s stewardship. His achievements include rapid improvement in service areas ranging from children’s services to recycling, plus securing and delivering an £83 million investment to bring Metrolink to the Borough and link it to new job and leisure, business and job opportunities.
Charlie Parker said: “This has been a very difficult choice for me to make. The Westminster role is the type of opportunity that only comes once in a lifetime and it’s probably only one of a couple that I would have left Oldham to take. I’ve had a fantastic five years here. It’s been a privilege and pleasure to be involved in the improvements that have set us apart – both the Council, and Oldham as a place – to make people sit up and notice us again in a positive way regionally and nationally.
“I’d like to thank Jim McMahon as Council Leader for the support he has given me and the partnership we’ve forged to tackle some very big challenges. I’d also like to pay tribute to his predecessor, Councillor Howard Sykes, for giving me the initial opportunity to come here and work alongside him on the first phase of recovery and change. Most importantly, I’d also like to thank all Oldham Council staff for their fantastic support. None of these achievements would have been possible without them. I will miss them, members and the many residents I have got to know, as well as colleagues from the business and voluntary sectors. Before I go, however, plenty of important work remains to be done – particularly in terms of finalising regeneration deals – and I am totally focussed on ensuring that I leave Oldham on a high.”
Prior to joining Oldham Council, Mr Parker was Director of Investment and Performance at English Partnerships and a member of its Executive Management Board. His other previous posts have included Group Strategic Development Director at Enterprise plc, Executive Director for Regeneration at Liverpool City Council, and head of Manchester Council’s Inner City Department. Married with two grown-up children, his hobbies include swimming, cycling, skiing and music. He is also a long-standing season ticket holder at Manchester City.