Chorley and South Ribble councils appoint Chris Sinnott, 39, as new joint chief executive

Chorley and South Ribble borough councils have appointed a new joint chief executive.

Thursday, 21st April 2022, 6:42 pm

Chris Sinnott, who is currently the deputy chief executive of the neighbouring districts, will take over from Gary Hall, who is taking early retirement at the end of the year.

Mr. Sinnott’s appointment to the £145,000-per-year role - the cost of which is shared equally between the two authorities - was approved at full council meetings of each organisation this week.

Read More

Read More
The "eye-catching" fares that could be used to get passengers back on the buses ...

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Chris Sinnott will become the new joint chief executive of Chorley and South Ribble councils from January next year - he is curranty the deputy chief executive of the neighbouring authorities.

Chorley Council leader Alistair Bradley told the gathering of his authority that the selection process had been “extensive”.

“What we are after as Chorley Council - and [as] Chorley and South Ribble working together - is somebody who shares our ideals, someone who we believe can be effective and who can help drive these two councils forward.

“We believe we have found that person,” said Cllr Bradley, who added that the recruitment decision reflected the authorities’ position as two “sovereign councils working together and not one operation [which is] entirely enmeshed”.

Chorley’s Conservative opposition group leader Martin Boardman said that his party fully supported the appointment, but reminded members that the soon-to-be-boss would have “two hats to wear - one for South Ribble and one for Chorley”.

“We shouldn't forget that - he will be pulled in lots of different directions,” Cllr Boardman said.

At South Ribble, council leader Paul Foster said that Mr. Sinnott, who is 39, had proved to be an “exceptional candidate”.

He told members that although the role would not change hands until 31st December, both councils - each of which is currently Labour-controlled - had wanted to ensure that there was “a proper handover period”.

South Ribble Conservative councillor - and former group and council leader - Margaret Smith said that while her party was content with the appointment, they would be abstaining in the vote to confirm it because they were unhappy with the decision taken to seek an internal candidate first and only to go out to the market if no suitable existing employee could be found.

She said that the process had resulted in only one candidate being considered.

“We still feel that it would have been better if there had been some competition. Chris himself, maybe, would have liked to have had some other competition, somebody else to base himself against,” Cllr Smith said.

Cllr Foster said that the Tory stance was “really disappointing”, since the group was part of the shared services appointments panel which had unanimously recommended Chris Sinnott be selected.

He also paid tribute to Gary Hall, whom he described as “one of the best appointments we have ever made at this authority” - singling out his role in guiding the borough through the pandemic.

Mr. Hall has been in the top job at Chorley for 11 years. He took over on an interim basis at South Ribble in May 2019, after that district’s then chief executive, Heather McManus, was suspended.

Following her departure from the authority a year later, he was subsequently appointed as joint chief executive of both South Ribble and Chorley councils on a fixed-term contract until the end of 2022.

Mr. Sinnott has been at Chorley Council since 2010 and became joint deputy chief executive of Chorley and South Ribble in late 2019, as part of the authorities’ continuing expansion of a longstanding agreement to share back office services, which now saves the councils more than £1m a year between them.

Speaking after confirmation of his promotion, Mr. Sinnott, who is 39, said that he was “really excited and honoured to be given the opportunity to serve the two councils as chief executive”.

“It’s my passionate belief that local government and wider public services can massively improve people’s lives, so I’m looking forward to working with everyone to ensure that both councils are able to deliver the very best services for residents,” he added.

The appointments process saw Mr. Sinnott face three panels - one of local stakeholders, including representatives of the police and Runshaw College, one made up of members of council staff and, finally, the shared services appointments panel.

He also had one-to-one interviews with each of the council leaders and a technical interview with the chief executive of another North West authority.

Gary Hall said upon the appointment of his successor: “I’m tremendously proud of what both councils have achieved over the last few years, particularly over the course of the pandemic - and as we look to the future, it’s important that there’s an element of continuity to build on our successes.

“Chris, like me, is immensely passionate about the role local councils can play in improving people’s lives – particularly in such testing circumstances – and I believe he is the ideal person to take us forward and ensure we continue to deliver the very best services for our residents.”