Third government official appointed to help fix Slough’s woes

SLOUGH’S ‘missing’ chief executive is set to be replaced by a government-appointed candidate while she is ‘away from office’.

Slough Borough Council has today announced the Department for Levelling Up, Housing, and Communities has appointed Gavin Jones to be the third commissioner to help fix the council’s financial and governance woes.

The official will be taking over duties from Slough’s chief executive Josie Wragg temporarily while she remains ‘off sick’.

Mr Jones will be joining lead commissioner Max Caller and finance commissioner Margaret Lee, who have been in place since December 2021, as an assistant commissioner.

Slough Observer: (left) Maragret Lee, finance officer, and Max Caller CBE, lead commissioner(left) Maragret Lee, finance officer, and Max Caller CBE, lead commissioner

He has been appointed following a request from the current commissioners and has been appointed on the same basis as Mr Caller and Ms Lee.

During his time in Slough, the assistant commissioner will be working three days a week and will be paid £1,100 per day.

The commissioners will be overseeing and assisting with the council’s recovery and renewal plan which lays out the work undertaken so far, and the work needed to create a sustainable council providing the right services to residents at the right time.

It is understood Mr Jones’ appointment to oversee and lead the officer team at the council will have no impact on Slough’s chief executive’s position, whose future position at the council is currently being decided following two alleged disciplinary meetings last year.

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The council has previously said Josie has been “off sick” since November.

Gavin Jones is currently the chief executive of Essex County Council where he has served since 2016, having previously spent 10 years as CEO of Swindon Borough.

He joined Local Government after having worked in the commercial sector for much of his career, including time in the airline, travel, and technology sectors.

He has also been chair of SOLACE – the UK’s leading membership network for public sector and local government professionals – for three years, helping it to grow and support leadership across the local government.

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Councillor James Swindlehurst, leader of the council, said: “There are still very difficult times ahead of us and we have welcomed the commissioners, their expertise, advice, and help and I look forward to meeting Gavin.

“We will be continuing to work with all the commissioners until the issues have been fully resolved by us all.

“Together we will be putting the council on a sustainable financial footing, improving our governance, and making the right decisions for our residents and town.”

Slough Observer | News