Jo Walker announces resignation


One of the the county council’s top directors is set to leave her post, the council has confirmed.

Jo Walker, the strategic director for Finance, is taking up a new role as chief executive of North Somerset Council.

She is the fourth director to leave the authority in just one year, following the departures of the head of children’s services, the chief fire officer and the director of communities and infrastructure.

Ms Walker said: “I have enjoyed my years with the county council immensely and am extremely grateful to the council for the wide range of opportunities I have been able to be involved with, all of which, along with a strong personal drive to succeed, has taken me on a varied and exciting career.

“Whilst I will be leaving behind a great number of committed and talented people at Gloucestershire County Council, I am looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead.”

Ms Walker has worked at the council for more than 30 years, and will take up her new role in the New Year.

But the Liberal Democrats said the departures of four directors means the council is now facing a “crisis of leadership”.

Lib Dem leader Paul Hodgkinson (Bourton-on-the-Water and Northleach) said:“We wish Jo Walker the best of luck in her new venture at North Somerset – she is a strong voice in Gloucestershire and will be missed by all.

“Amongst this personal good news, however, is the crisis of leadership currently facing Gloucestershire County Council. This latest departure means that four directors have left the Council in the last year alone, with Jo taking more than 30 years of experience with her.

“The public will remember all-too-recently the Head of Children’s Services being shown the door after letting down vulnerable children, followed by the Chief Fire Officer falling on his sword after displaying poor judgement with vehicle disposals and over the summer the Director of the Environment jumping ship to South Gloucestershire Council.”

Conservative councillor Ray Theodoulou, deputy leader and cabinet member for finance and change said: “I am extremely grateful to Jo for all she has achieved throughout her career at Gloucestershire County Council. It has been a great pleasure to work with her. Jo is a shining example of the high calibre of staff we have at the council.”

By Leigh Boobyer – Local Democracy Reporter