Chief Executive and Corporate Management Team

We are fully committed to being up-front, open and transparent about the individual roles and salaries of our senior leadership team, including the chief executive.

In this section, you will find out more about the chief executive and the departments that make up Southend-on-Sea Borough Council.

Corporate Management Team

Our chief executive, two deputy chief executives and three strategic directors make up a group called the Corporate Management Team (CMT).

CMT is the main officer decision making body and works alongside and for the Councillors you elect to run the key public services of Southend including schools, roads, tourism and regeneration, waste and recycling collections, care for older people, libraries and parks.

The CMT meets fortnightly and is responsible, among other things, for:

  • managerial leadership and direction of the Council
  • providing the formal response to Cabinet policy direction and the development of corporate policy and initiatives for Cabinet consideration
  • co-ordination and commissioning of Council-wide activity, planning, programme management
  • as part of our complex organisation, the CMT are collectively responsible for a gross revenue budget of circa £400 million and a five year capital programme of circa £275 million, a staff of approximately 5000 (including schools) and for the delivery of hundreds of services in Southend

Chief Executive and Town Clerk

Alison Griffin joined the council as our new Chief Executive and Town Clerk on Monday 3rd July 2017 and is the council's Head of Paid Service.

Alison Griffin was formerly Director of Finance and Corporate Services at the London Borough of Bexley, having previously been Assistant Director for Communities at the London Borough of Camden from May 2010 to August 2013 and then Deputy Director of Finance at the same authority until September 2014. 

As Head of Paid Service, Alison is the most senior officer in the Council and is responsible for the effective operation of the organisation to ensure the delivery of the outcomes that best serve the residents of Southend, its businesses, students and visitors.  Alison is also the Council’s Returning Officer and is responsible for the smooth running of elections in the area.

Simon Leftley – Deputy Chief Executive (People)

  • Simon Leftley is the Deputy Chief Executive (People). This comprises two statutory roles of Director of Children’s Services and Director of Adult Services and is responsible for a wide range of legally specified services. Simon also has a corporate leadership role as a member of CMT
  • the department manages all services related to Adult social care and leads on Strategic and operational Housing The department supports older people and vulnerable adults to live safely, healthily, independently and in good quality housing. The department works in partnership with local health and housing organisations to achieve its aims. It provides and commissions a range of services to support those in need
  • the department manages all services related to the well-being of children and young people in Southend, from birth to the age of 19 and beyond. These include childcare and learning for the early years, co-ordination of school admissions, school improvement, Youth and Connexions and the Adult and Community College working in partnership with children’s health services, the department also offers preventative services
  • the department is a key player in Southend Children’s Partnership, which is made up of local agencies working together to create a better future for young people in the borough
  • since September 2017 the council's Public Health function & responsibilites now fall within this department

Andy Lewis – Deputy Chief Executive (Place)

Andy is responsible for a wide range of services covering planning and transport, public protection, economic regeneration, tourism and culture. His department covers:

  • planning applications
  • building control
  • traffic management
  • highways
  • car parks
  • coastal defences, the Pier, foreshore and beaches
  • trading standards
  • licensing
  • repair and maintenance of Council owned property (excluding housing)
  • estate management, design of new buildings and contract management
  • waste management, recycling and street cleaning
  • environmental enforcement, pest control, food hygiene legislation and animal welfare
  • tourism and promotions, parks, leisure centres, swimming pools, libraries, museums and arts services
  • community safety and CCTV
  • regeneration, enterprise and economic development, and responsibility for delivering the major regeneration schemes and the transport highways capital programme
  • digital services and ICT

Joe Chesterton – Strategic Director (Finance and Resources)

Joe is the senior financial officer in the Council and holds the statutory Section151 role ensuring that the Council acts appropriately in all financial matters in line with legislation..

He has a corporate leadership role as a member of CMT and is also responsible for the following services:

  • financial planning
  • financial management
  • internal audit
  • asset management
  • procurement
  • revenues and benefits

John Williams – Strategic Director (Legal and Democratic Services)

John is the senior legal officer in the Council and holds the statutory Monitoring Officer role ensuring that the Council acts appropriately in all legal matters in line with our Constitution and legislation. He has a corporate leadership role as a member of CMT and is also responsible for the following services:

  • local land charges
  • legal services
  • democratic Services, member support and the mayoralty
  • electoral registration and elections
  • emergency and business continuity planning

Joanna Ruffle – Strategic Director (Transformation)

Joanna is the Council’s senior HR advisor and is responsible for the development of Council policy and strategy in line with our agreed ambition and goals.  She also leads on the Council’s internal Transformation Programme ensuring that our staff are enabled to deliver the best possible outcomes for the people of Southend.

She has a corporate leadership role as a member of CMT and is also responsible for the following services:

  • customer services – including registrars
  • strategy
  • HR and payroll
  • bereavement services

Salary and Expenses

The council's chief officer pay structure consists of 4 senior management grades as follows;

  • SMG1 (Chief Executive) £156,000
  • SMG2 (Deputy Chief Executives) £132,600
  • SMG3a (Strategic Directors) £104,000
  • SMG3 (Directors) £90,522

These are spot salaries and reflect the 'rate for the job'. However there is the facility to recruit to these posts on a 'development rate' for the first 12 months to allow the candidate to grow into the full role. This rate is calculated at 90% of the 'rate for the job'.

The Chief Executive & Deputy Chief Executives are entitled to 37 days annual leave (33 days for Strategic Directors). They are entitled to be members of the Local Government Pension Scheme and pay 11.4% of their salary into this scheme. The council makes an employer contribution of 21.9% into the scheme.

Page last updated: 31/07/2019