Somerset County Council appoints new Chief Executive – will lead the new unitary Somerset Council from April 2023

A meeting of Somerset County Council has confirmed Duncan Sharkey as the new Council Chief Executive.

Currently Chief Executive of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead, Mr Sharkey will take up the post with SCC in the autumn and will become Chief Executive of the new unitary Somerset Council from April next year.

Mr Sharkey was selected after a high-profile national search with the appointment process involving staff and members from across the five existing councils in Somerset, a panel of key stakeholders and partners, and a panel of young people from Somerset’s Youth Parliament and the Unstoppables.

Councillor Bill Revans, Leader of Somerset County Council, and Chair of the interview panel said: “Duncan has the experience and ability to lead us into the creation of our new unitary council for Somerset.

“He will bring our staff together across all councils, be innovative in how we deliver our services and be a powerful advocate for Somerset on the national stage. He has the energy, drive and creativity to be an outstanding leader and of course he is already experienced in leading a unitary council. We look forward to welcoming him in the autumn.

Mr Sharkey has been Chief Executive of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead since February 2019 where he stabilised the council’s finances, working closely with the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA), while building a new leadership team. He also secured a rating of ‘Good’ for Children’s Services in the borough, while Adult Care Services in the borough were all CQC (Care Quality Commission) rated as Good or Outstanding.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Sharkey said: “Chief Executive of the new unitary Somerset Council is one of the most exciting jobs in local government and I am honoured and thrilled to have been selected for the role. Bringing together staff from across five councils into a new organisation that will design effective new services for Somerset residents is a wonderful opportunity.

“It was a rigorous recruitment process, and I was very pleased to meet so many of the partners, colleagues and councillors I will be working with in the future. I was particularly pleased to meet a number of young people and talk to them about their ambitions for the future of Somerset.

“The new Council, rightly, has high ambitions both for its services and for the county’s economy. I very much look forward to playing my part in its development.”

Mr Sharkey succeeds Pat Flaherty who has been Chief Executive of Somerset County Council since 2014. He takes up the post of Chief Executive at Harrow Council in September. Paula Hewitt, Deputy Chief Executive of Somerset County Council will become the Acting Chief Executive until Mr Sharkey joins the Council.


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