|Nationally acclaimed chief executive of Wigan Council to retire
The chief executive of Wigan Council Donna Hall has announced she is to retire next year after a hugely successful eight years at the helm.
Donna Hall CBE has won national acclaim throughout her time at Wigan with bold reforms and the forging of ‘The Deal’ – a new model of local government.
Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham this week described Donna as a “public service pioneer” and the architect of Greater Manchester’s new approach to public service delivery.
She is a leading national voice in local government and has played a key role as part of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.
Donna joined Wigan in 2011 initially as deputy chief executive before taking on the top role six months later.
With then leader of the council Lord Peter Smith she created The Deal – the council’s response to austerity which has reduced the budget by £160m while improving residents’ satisfaction and investing £10m into community groups.
She has relentlessly driven forward the transformation of the council’s services such as adult social care, children’s services, environmental services and instilled a radical positive culture change among staff.
Lately she has taken on a leading role in the borough’s health sector as top officer in the Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group overseeing the joining up of health and social care services across the borough for the benefit of patients.
Donna said: “The last eight years have been the best of my working life. I have really loved working with all 5,000 of our hard-working, compassionate, amazing staff who have all pulled together despite the cuts to deliver the best possible services for our residents.
“I would like to thank them from the bottom of my heart.
“It is a really difficult decision to make to choose to retire because I have loved Wigan so much but I feel the time is right for a new chief executive to continue the brilliant work we have done over the years through The Deal.”
Councillor David Molyneux, leader of Wigan Council, said: “Donna has given incredible service to Wigan over the past eight years and we certainly wouldn’t be the council we are today without Donna serving as chief executive.
“I wish her well in her retirement. On behalf of the council, all councillors, staff and the people of the borough I would like to place on record our gratitude to Donna for what has been a remarkable eight years in Wigan.”
Lord Peter Smith, the former council leader of 27 years who worked with Donna closely until he stepped down earlier this year, said: “In her time at Wigan Donna has made a terrific difference to the council and to the lives of people of the borough.
“Under her leadership we developed the Wigan Deal a new way of delivering good public services while tackling the problems posed by austerity and helping people in these difficult times.
“She has worked so well with the staff and has been so supportive of them. I enjoyed my time working with Donna and I wish her well in the future.”
Dr Tim Dalton, Local GP and Chair of NHS Wigan Borough CCG, said, “Donna has brought energy to the challenge of integrating health and social care services and I sincerely thank her for her commitment and drive.
“Our shared vision for building up our borough’s communities and putting local people at the heart of everything we do will continue to influence the transformation of local NHS services.”
Councillor Michael Winstanley, leader of the Conservative group on Wigan Council, said: “I am very sorry to hear that Donna will be leaving the council.
“Personally over the past two years Donna has been very supportive and I know through speaking to councillors throughout Greater Manchester she is very highly thought of across the region.
“She will be a big loss to Wigan Council and on behalf of the group I wish her well for the future.”
Donna has also been a fearless champion for equality and LGBT rights in her time at Wigan.
She was a major supporter of the creation of the annual Wigan Pride festival and created the #BelieveInHer campaign to encourage and inspire women and girls from across Wigan Borough to pursue their ambitions.
She is also passionate about culture and its importance in people’s wellbeing and to the economy and is currently the lead officer for this in Greater Manchester.
Donna joined Wigan from Chorley Council where she was chief executive and also previously worked in Blackburn with Darwen Council and Salford Council.
She was adopted as a child and was instilled with a strong sense of public service by her adoptive parents.
Her passion for adoption, fostering and the future prospects of children in care have also been driving factors throughout her career.
She was awarded a CBE for services to local government in 2010.