A new chief executive has been appointed to lead the new Cumberland Council.
Andrew Seekings, currently the chief executive of Allerdale council and interim head of paid service for the shadow authority for Cumberland Council, will officially start the new role from December 31.
Mr Seekings’ appointment follows an extensive recruitment process, with a senior appointments committee recommending him as the preferred candidate and the appointment being formally confirmed at a meeting of shadow authority for Cumberland Council meeting today, July 29.
Mr Seekings has worked for authorities including Allerdale Borough Council and Sunderland City Council. He has worked at a senior corporate leadership level for the past 12 years, including more than two years as chief executive at Allerdale Borough Council.
He played a leading role in the local government reorganisation planning for Cumbria, which will see the biggest change to Cumbria’s council structures since 1974, with two new ‘unitary’ councils being formed to replace the existing set up of six district councils and Cumbria County Council.
He will lead the new Cumberland Council, which is the new unitary authority for the geographic area currently covered by Allerdale Borough, Carlisle City Council and Copeland Borough Council.
He said: “I am delighted to have been appointed as Cumberland’s first chief executive. I believe passionately in local government, and its role in creating the conditions for people and places to thrive.
“Local government reorganisation gives a real opportunity to take the best of what we already have and combine that with new ways of working to build a new council that will be ready to improve outcomes across the new Cumberland area.
“I am driven by the opportunity to set up the new council for success, to create an ambitious, modern organisation, with compassion at its core.’’
Leader of Cumberland Council, Mark Fryer, welcomed the appointment. He said: “Andrew is an excellent leader and a highly skilled and experienced local government professional.
“I am very much looking forward to working with Andrew on our journey to build a new council that delivers the very best outcomes for our residents, businesses and organisations.
“In his recent roles as interim head of paid service for the new council and as returning officer in the recent elections in May, Andrew has demonstrated the qualities needed to create a successful new authority. Andrew acts with integrity and honesty and is able to build strong relationships, both within the new council and externally with our partners.”
Cumberland Council will act in shadow form for the next eight months, as it prepares for Vesting Day on 1 April 2023.
Until April 2023, all current services will continue to be delivered by the existing councils, overseen by the councillors on those councils.