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A fond-farewell and a warm welcome – changes announced at Devon County Council

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Members of our council gave, what’s turned out to be their second fond-farewell to Jan Spicer, as she stepped aside today as interim Chief Executive, with Donna Manson taking up the mantle as our new permanent Chief Executive.

Jan Spicer, former County Solicitor, is set to retire after temporarily returning to the council as interim Chief Executive (CEX) when former long-serving CEX, Phil Norrey retired five months ago after many years at the helm.

Members at the Full Council meeting at County Hall said a final farewell today and also warmly welcomed Donna Manson, who joins us as our new permanent Chief Executive.

Donna joins the County Council from her role as Chief Executive of The Highland Council, Scotland’s largest rural authority.

There since 2018, Donna led the Highland Council in developing an ambitious, sustainable, and connected vision for the Highlands during a time of immense change and challenge. Prior to this, Donna was a Director of Children’s Services and a Head Teacher.

Her top priority for Devon is to deliver significant improvement to Devon’s Children’s Services. But more broadly, Donna wants to re-energise Devon as a caring and inclusive place for young people and families, the elderly and vulnerable, and as a forward looking place to work and do business with opportunities for all to thrive and do well.

Speaking of Jan Spicer’s retirement, our Chairman of the Council, Councillor Ian Hall, said to Members:

 “I want to take the opportunity on behalf of the Council to thank Jan Spicer for coming back as our interim Chief Executive for the last few months.

“It has been a tough few months for many in local government with huge financial and service delivery challenges, but she has sailed a very steady ship and I am sure you will all join me in wishing her well in her retirement.”

Jan said:

“While I never dreamt I would be returning to Devon County Council when I retired last year, I was honoured and delighted to be asked to become interim Chief Executive.

“The past few months have reinforced to me the outstanding levels of care and professionalism demonstrated at the Council, and I am very proud to have served the people of Devon once again.

“I never doubted that the commitment and dedication of County Council staff would mean that we would be able to provide a balanced budget for 2023/24, nor to respond as a whole organisation to support improvement in Children’s Services.

“I wish everyone at the Council, and particularly Donna, every success for the future.”

Jan Spicer, Interim Chief Executive of Devon County Council
Interim Chief Executive, Jan Spicer