Ealing Council Appoints New Chief Executive

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Ealing Council has appointed Darra Singh to its top position of Chief Executive.

Mr. Singh, who received an OBE for 'services to local government' in the Queen's birthday honours list last year, moves to Ealing after four successful years as chief executive of Luton Council.

He has helped transform Luton from a Council with significant budgetary challenges to one that now enjoys a balanced budget and has a 'good' rating in the government's Comprehensive Performance Assessment (CPA).

Under his leadership Luton helped secure £120 million for the introduction of a guided bus system to improve local transport and began a major redevelopment of its town centre.

Luton received several national awards, including the prestigious 'Beacon' and 'Pathfinder' status, under Darra's leadership.

He replaces Gillian Guy who resigned earlier this year, one of several top level departures from the Council. He will inherit responsibility for the ambitious and controversial 'Response Programme' a £50 million project to improve communication with the public.

He said: "Ealing Council has made a commitment to dramatically improve its operations in order to make 'a world of difference' to the diverse community that it serves. This commitment is being backed up by fundamental changes to the organisation's structure and major investment in customer service. Successfully leading the Council through these changes, as Chief Executive at Ealing, represents the most exciting management challenge in local government, and one that I am delighted to have the opportunity to tackle myself."

He added: "Much groundwork has already been done, but a great deal of hard work remains. Having already seen the dedication of Ealing's councillors, managers and employees I am sure that together we will be successful."

The appointment means Ealing has now recruited its new five strong corporate board after the previous four person board announced it was leaving to take up other challenges.

The new CEO will be joined by four new executive directors. They are Shelley Adams, ED for Strategy and Development; David Archibald, ED for Individual Customers (education, social services and housing); and Keith Townsend, ED for Customer Services. An appointment has been made to the post of Executive Director for Finance and Business Support which will be announced shortly.

Mr. Singh , 45, was born in Wolverhampton but grew up in Bradford, and is married with a young daughter. He graduated from university with a law degree. He became a volunteer for one of Newcastle's housing advice centres, then started his career as a housing caseworker on Tyneside. He moved to London in 1984, where he worked for housing charity SHAC and the London Housing Unit. He subsequently became chief executive of Asra Greater London Housing Association and Hexagon Housing Association. He then moved to the Audit Commission as a Regional Director for the Best Value Inspection Service where he led inspections of local authorities across a range of services.

He has also been involved in the Home Office's Community Cohesion Review Team and chaired a national housing practitioner group reporting to the government's influential Community Cohesion Panel. He has also recently been involved in a major review of local government finance.

Ealing Council leader John Cudmore said: "We are delighted to have appointed a chief executive with such an outstanding reputation as Darra. We are very excited because Darra has proved he has exceptional leadership qualities and vision that will prove a great benefit to Ealing and its residents. Darra knows there are huge changes taking place in Ealing and he wants to be part of that and be able to drive our change programme forward."

March 28th, 2005