New council boss looks for ‘agreement of the people’

The new interim chief executive of South Holland District Council has pledged to seek “the agreement of the people” in his work over the next five months.

Geoff Rivers (62) started his new job on Friday as successor to Trevor Holden who worked jointly for South Holland, Breckland and Luton Borough Councils for almost nine months.

New interim chief executive of South Holland District Council 'Geoff Rivers.

New interim chief executive of South Holland District Council 'Geoff Rivers.

Married with two children, Mr Rivers’ contract is until March 3, 2014 while both councils look to appoint a permament chief executive.

He said: “I’ve been made welcome by the councillors I’ve spoken to and they’ve been extremely open and approachable with me.

“South Holland and Breckland have placed themselves at the vanguard of change in local government with the implementation of their shared management team and I am relishing the prospect of leading it.

“I am looking forward to building further on the solid foundations put in place by the former permanent chief executive, Terry Huggins, which have been strengthened further by Trevor Holden over the last nine months.”

Born and educated in Suffolk, Mr Rivers has worked in local government for the last 35 years at councils in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Liverpool and 16 years at Birmingham City Council.

His previous roles were as chief executive of South Norfolk District Council from 2000 to 2008 and St Edmundsbury Borough Council, Suffolk, between 2008 to 2012.

Mr Rivers said: “The way services are delivered by local authorities has changed enormously over the last 35 years, but the fundamental core purpose remains much the same which is for council members to serve the people in their wards.

“I want to progress the agenda of South Holland and Breckland councils, see where they overlap, take a long look at their budgets and seek to balance them in the medium term.

“But we need the agreement of the people to support what we do and where changes need to be made, we will get their consent.”

Coun Gary Porter, leader of South Holland District Council, said: “I am delighted we have appointed Geoff to this key council role during this interim period and he will be a steady hand in helping me lead the council in the coming months.”