Chief Executive, Doncaster Council
As Chief Executive at Doncaster Council, Jo is recognised as having brought exceptional growth and optimism to Doncaster. She has delivered an ambitious turnaround strategy after being asked to run Doncaster by central Government in 2012.
Jo’s success in attracting landmark projects to Doncaster with a total investment of £2 billion has boosted economic performance, so that the town is now in the UK’s top ten for growth and is outstripping the rest of the Yorkshire and Humber region.
In setting a new direction for the Council, Jo prioritised Doncaster’s great railway heritage as a platform for bringing new investment and skills to the town.
Shifting the economic focus to rail and skills led to major investment including attracting the National High Speed Rail College and the new £80m Hitachi rail maintenance depot, which is creating hundreds of jobs, skills and learning opportunities.
Jo’s role is to work with the Mayor to lead the workforce and steer the direction of the Council with a combined revenue and capital budget of £900m and a population of more than 300,000. Jo drives collaboration with public-sector partners, voluntary and community groups, and the business community to develop joined-up services for the benefit of residents. Jo and Mayor Jones have committed to the local economy by re-ordering procurement priorities so that £2 in every £3 spent by the Council goes to Doncaster companies.
A qualified solicitor, Jo was the elected President of the Society of Local Authority Chief Executives in 2017 and 2018 and in 2017 the Local Government Chronicle named her the third most influential person in local government, ahead of London Mayor Sadiq Khan and Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham, and even the Cabinet minister responsible for councils and housing at the time, Sajid Javid MP. Jo is now the SOLACE lead for the leadership portfolio on behalf of the profession.