WME rounded up some real ‘All stars’ to help deliver the day. 

Vic Allison – Deputy Managing Director, Wychavon District Council

Vic has 27 years experience in local government of which almost 20 years has been at a senior (SMT) level / Director of Resources / s151 or equivalent.  He has a wide range of responsibilities including front line services e.g. car parking, customer services, revenues and benefits, corporate projects as well as the traditional resources functions of finance, IT, Property, HR, engineering. Vic is used to operating in a political environment and decision making under pressure, balancing priorities and resources. He was awarded an MBE in 2008 for services to local government and the communities of Worcestershire. Vic is also a retained fire fire-fighter, so he is used to dealing with the odd crisis!

Emma Balchin – Schools Workforce and Governance Manager, City of Wolverhampton Council

Emma was on last year’s winning team as CEO, and found the experience invaluable. In terms of supporting as a partner, alongside her vast Educational Leadership Experience, she has also worked as the regional lead for the National Healthy Schools Programme, so has a good understanding of Health Issues, and the way in which Partners such as; School Nursing Service, Community Safety, Local Police, Charitable Organisations, Theatre Groups, work with Local Authorities to achieve mutual aims. Emma has a vast experience of managing challenging situations with the Communications department, and enjoys working with colleagues to put a calm and positive spin on potentially negative press.

Billy Corrigan – Communications Manager, West Midlands Police

Billy is part of the multi CIPR award winning communications team, provides specialist communication advice, expertise and guidance to officers and staff at all levels within the organisation.

He advises and guides senior managers at a strategic level and co-ordinates the efforts of communications officers at a tactical level to engage audiences to raise the profile and deliver key messages which strengthen the reputation of West Midlands Police.

Working with a high degree of flexibility and autonomy, represents the force at a high level in discussions with influential external stakeholders including regional and national media.

Andy Hancox – Associate Consultant, West Midlands Employers

Andy has broad experience of local government and public sector at a senior level – Director and Chief Executive. Extensive background in partnership working.

Victoria Lee – HR Services Manager, Wychavon & Malvern Hills District Councils

Vickie has worked in local government HR at both District and County level for over 20 years. She currently leads the HR function across both Wychavon and Malvern Hills District Council, but has worked at a senior level across almost all services, including adult social care; cultural services (libraries, museums and music services); highways and environment; education; and all District and corporate County functions. As a member of the West Midlands Coaching and Mentoring Pool, Vickie is also a practising coach. She enjoys bringing an action focussed and pragmatic approach to work and is always looking to develop herself and others. What better than the LA challenge to inspire those taking part to learn and develop in a fun, if sometimes hectic, event!

Jerry Hutchinson – Chief Executive, North Warwickshire Borough Council

Jerry is Chief Executive of North Warwickshire Borough Council since 1996, and previously occupied Management and Legal roles at Lancaster City, Nottingham City, Hull City and Hambleton District Councils. He has extensive FE and school governor experience, and has enjoyed the Local Government Management Game for a number of years.

Jodie McConnell – Senior Change Practitioner, Birmingham City Council

Jodie has experience in project management and business change. She loved volunteering at this event last year and looks forward to doing so with a different organisation this year. Last year, her wonderful team from Wolverhampton won the challenge so Jodie is looking forward to supporting the event this year and seeing all of the fantastic talent!

Ian Miller – Chief Executive, Wyre Forest District Council

Ian is Chief Executive of a small unitary council and district council from 2002 to date. He was a clerk & monitoring officer to a fire authority 2002-2008. Originally a civil servant working (among other things) on various Bills and secondary legislation to do with local government finance & reorganisation and devolution before becoming head of finance in a local government association. Have been chair of governors of a primary school; am trustee of a small museum with a national collection

Fiona Narburgh – Joint Head of Strategy, Democratic & Customer Services, Wychavon District Council

Fiona intends to bring ideas, enthusiasm and hopefully some wisdom and insight to the challenge.

Fiona was an assessor for many years on the LGC challenge “game” and very much enjoyed helping develop future leaders. Often she had to role play different organisations and politicians as part of the exercise – which is great fun and great learning for participants and assessors alike. Fiona is a coach through the West Midlands Coaching Pool. She has taken on a new challenge to work for two councils in a new shared management team position, going from managing 17 to a team of nearly 70! Fiona fully understands the challenges faced in the public sector with less money, yet more impact needs to be made; hence the need to focus time and effort on the ‘right things’ and work out what those are.

Bob Perks – Associate Consultant, West Midlands Employers

Bob has about thirty years’ experience as a senior HR manager in local government, including the role of Head of HR and OD at Warwickshire County Council. Significant experience at management team level and elected member involvement in local authorities.

Cllr Roger Phillips – WME Chair, Herefordshire Council

Roger is the Cabinet Member for Corporate Strategy and Finance and formerly leader of the Council.  He also part of the West Midlands Employers Management Board.

Rachael Simpson – Senior HR Advisor, Wyre Forest District Council

If anyone was in any doubt about working in local government, they should have a word with Rachael.  She has spent more than a quarter of a century working for Wyre Forest District Council. Rachael learnt her trade at the authority and now heads up the Human Resources team.  Her role also includes organisational development and equality, diversity and inclusion . She is a neuro-linguistic programming coach which helps her bring new ways of thinking and learning to the authority. While Rachael loves her job and her colleagues, she also knows the challenges facing local government and the skills you need to meet those challenges and still come out smiling!   

Diane Tilley – Chief Executive, Lichfield District Council

A Chartered Surveyor by profession, Diane graduated from Reading University with First Class Honours in Land Management in 1984 and started work with Ministry of Defence managing their property portfolio firstly on Salisbury Plain and later in charge of the £700m disposals programme.

Diane moved to local government in 2001 taking up the role of Head of Policy at Worcestershire County Council and later becoming Director of Planning Economy and Performance at the Council.  She worked on secondment as Chief Executive of Wyre Forest District Council in 2009.

Diane joined Lichfield District Council as Chief Executive in January 2013. As with all CE roles she has dealt with a wide range of issues since taking up post , from developing the local economy, delivering the Local Plan, introducing a successful fit for the the future change programme, and working with two Local Enterprise Partnerships and the emerging Combined Authority to ensure Lichfield District continues to thrive.

Claire Ward – Assistant Director Workforce Strategy, Birmingham City Council

Claire is a senior HR Leader with a reputation for credible, strategic leadership and the ability to translate vision into tangible implementation and results in large complex organisations. I have experience of leading and managing organisational change programmes and a range of second tier professional services.

Claire really enjoyed undertaking a number of roles at last year’s challenge.

Colin Williams – Director, West Midlands Employers

Colin has over 20 years experience of leading the regional employers organisation, including the interface with national employer and improvement bodies. One of his most recent key achievements is leading West Midlands Employers through a re-energised and significant change programme that has been underway since 2012. Colin has been pivotal in ensuring the organisation, not only survived but thrived in an extremely challenging climate through a refocus of business strategy including a new brand and a revitalised offer to its membership.  Colin’s early career in local government covered a range of disciplines, leading to operating at Assistant Director level in Sandwell MBC.