Why I canít wait to get started
Date published: 09 January 2014
LUCY KENDERDINE talks to Oldham council’s new chief executive Carolyn Wilkins
CHALLENGES lie ahead for Oldham Council’s interim chief executive Carolyn Wilkins - but they are challenges she will take in her stride.
The 47 year old takes over tomorrow, when Charlie Parker steps down from the high-powered role to take up a similar role at Westminster City Council.
Mrs Wilkins - today Parker’s deputy and a former chief executive of Rossendale Council - believes she has the experience and knowledge needed to handle the pressure of Oldham Council’s top job.
“I am really excited to get started!” she said. “I know I have a fantastic team behind me - but this isn’t the best time to be working in public service or local government.
“There will be some difficult challenges over the coming months, most significantly saving an estimated £57 million in the 2015 to 2017 budgets. It will be hard, but we are determined to ensure council services don’t suffer, and Oldham residents don’t suffer as a result.”
Mrs Wilkins is no stranger to challenges. She moved to Oldham Council in 2009 as one of “Charlie’s Angels” - the name given to the high-flying women who took up four newly-created executive positions under his lead.
The team set about the task of helping to get the town back on track, improving the reputation of Oldham Council and starting regeneration work.
Carolyn added: “I’m taking over at a good time for the town. A lot of improvements have been made over the past few years to set Oldham on the right path.
“Charlie led the groundwork for change and I am looking forward to overseeing the delivery of some of the important work he started.
“Charlie was dedicated to the regeneration project, getting Oldham back in shape and focusing on the ambition for the town. I am hoping I will be able to build on that and focus on the people of Oldham to ensure that the regeneration of the town has a positive impact on them.
“It will also be good to get out on the frontline and see the astonishing number of services the council runs in action, to see how they are improving the lives of people in the town.”
Carolyn will be focusing on the cooperative agenda of the council, she says; making sure all aspects of the council, the town and its partners are doing their very best for Oldham.
“We have developed some great relationships with our partners, for example Oldham Clinical Commissioning Group, and other councils in the area, so I will be looking to continue this to ensure Oldham has a place, not only in Greater Manchester, but nationally as well,” she said.
Carolyn, originally from Leeds, assumes the chief executive role for an interim period, with the help of Manchester City Council chief executive Sir Howard Bernstein. A permanent replacement will be appointed later this year.
“Howard is great to work with and I know we will be able to build on the strong working relationship we have built over the years,” she said. Carolyn is hoping to make a lasting impression during her time in charge, to earn the position full time.
She said: “I know there will be more challenges in the future and being the chief executive in Oldham will be different from my job in Rossendale.
“Every day will be different, and I feel really privileged to be given the opportunity to make a difference in the town. I am dedicated to the town - and eager to make the changes Oldham deserves.”
Have Your Say