Waverley & Guildford’s head honcho has resigned.
But I will continue until January to allow a smooth handover.
So within months, Waverley has lost its Borough Solicitor Daniel Bainbridge, Its Chief Planning Officer Zac Ellwood, its Chief Finance Officer Peter Vickers, five planning officers on just one day last week, and has a 47% staff turnover.
Tom Horwood announced his resignation to councillors, his staff and confidantes yesterday.
He said in his message his decision had been delayed while the council “identified the financial and governance issues at GBC … and put in place plans to resolve them.” It was not prompted “by any single thing” but following a health scare.
In a joint statement from the leaders of Waverley & Guildford Borough Councils, Paul Follows and Julia McShane said:
“The health and well-being of our staff are of paramount concern to us, and while we are both saddened by his departure, we fully support his decision.”
Here is Tom Horwood’s message to council staff and the joint message from the council leaders. Both are reproduced in full.
I would like to update you on my position and share with you a statement from the Leaders of Guildford and Waverley Councils at the end.
After six years at Waverley and 20 months at Guildford, I have decided to leave my role as joint Chief Executive in early 2024. I have agreed with the Leaders to work with colleagues and councillors on an orderly transition of responsibilities while the councils recruit my successor.
This job is a privilege and, at times, a great pressure. My decision has not been prompted by any single thing. Rather, I have been considering a change for several months while I reflected on my career and future plans and the impact on my well-being, having had a recent health scare. I delayed the decision while we identified the financial and governance issues at GBC, reported to the council in July and August and put in place plans to resolve them.
Over the next five months, I will continue to work hard for both boroughs and support the councils to take the right decisions on priorities, services and funding. I am grateful for the support of an excellent senior team and the political leaderships. I am continually inspired by the commitment and dedication of colleagues and councillors who work so hard for local residents at a time of exceptional challenge. I will always do what I can to champion local public services.
Tom Horwood, Joint Chief Executive
From the Leaders of Guildford BC and Waverley BC:
We want to extend our heartfelt thanks and support to Tom Horwood for all of his hard work for both Waverley Borough Council and Guildford Borough Council during the first phase of our collaboration and previously at Waverley.
Tom has brought professionalism, drive and hard work to a demanding role in difficult times for local government. He has helped build a capable and resilient organisation and both councils that will continue to thrive.
The health and well-being of our staff are of paramount concern to us, and while we are both saddened by his departure, we fully support his decision.
We are grateful that Tom has offered to stay in the post until the end of February, ensuring a smooth recruitment process for a successor and an orderly transition in 2024. We wish him all the best in his future career.
Cllr Paul Follows
Leader, Waverley Borough Council
Cllr Julia McShane
Joss Bigmore, former leader of GBC and leader of the Residents for Guildford & Villages group, said: “Tom Horwood is an exceptional Chief Executive and a very good man.
“I worked closely with him for two years. We spoke almost daily, and his work ethic and professionalism inspired everyone around him.
“The fact so many issues have been found at Guildford Borough Council is a testament to his tenacity and refusal to accept poor standards; the Borough should be grateful that we are rebuilding from such solid foundations.
“His resignation will be a shock to many, but one’s health is of paramount importance, and I hope people respect his privacy.”
But it gets worse! Follow the link below to get a full report on The Amazing Guildford Dragon, which has a finger firmly on the local pulse.
Allegations of Potential Fraud Involving’ £Millions’ at GBC – Officers Suspended, Employment Contracts Terminated
Published on: 20 Sep, 2023
Updated on: 20 Sep, 2023
Two Guildford Borough Council officers have been suspended, and five interim managers have had their contracts suddenly terminated following allegations of potential fraud and budget and contract overspends.