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'It's a great job' - council chief

PUBLISHED: 16:18 27 November 2008 | UPDATED: 10:48 12 July 2010

New South Norfolk chief executive Sandra Dinneen from Tacolneston.

New South Norfolk chief executive Sandra Dinneen from Tacolneston.

South Norfolk Council's first woman chief executive said that it felt “great” to be in the role.

Despite being in post for just two weeks, Sandra Dinneen said she had received a warm welcome and was quickly getting to grips with the demands of her new job.

New South Norfolk chief executive Sandra Dinneen from Tacolneston.

South Norfolk Council's first woman chief executive said that it felt “great” to be in the role.

Despite being in post for just two weeks, Sandra Dinneen said she had received a warm welcome and was quickly getting to grips with the demands of her new job.

Ms Dinneen said she wanted to build on the success of the excellent rated council and outlined her thoughts for the future.

Two months ago questions were raised after the 44-year-old was offered the £100,000 a year post which may cease to exist in the future because of local government reorganisation.

But yesterday the mother-of-two stood by the comments she made at the time and said that she would be happy to be judged on her performance if the overhaul went ahead.

“People work in local authorities because they want to deliver and do the right thing for people at the end of the day,” she said. “That ethos will run through whatever structural changes that may or may not be made.”

Ms Dinneen, former head of economic development at Norfolk County Council, lives in Tacolneston with her husband and two children. Her father Bill Dinneen was a former chairman of South Norfolk Council.

She said she had settled into her new job well and was thinking about the future.

“I have been in the post two weeks and it is great. I am really enjoying it,” she said.

“In terms of aims it is quite early days for me, but I think a good organisation is one that has a clear focus and where everybody is working towards the same objectives. I would like to see a bit more in terms of joining up services. They are joined up to a degree already, but I think there is more we can do to make it easier for residents.”

She added: “There are some really good market towns and we need to be looking to their long term future to see how we can support and develop these.”

Ms Dinneen spoke about the importance of balancing her work and home life. She said: “Lots of women have work and kids, so we just have to be well organised. With kids it's a balancing act. You just do the best that you can as you go along.”

She also said that being a woman in a top job should not be a big issue.

“For me we should compete on equal terms and get things on merit whether male or female,” she said. “It shouldn't be a big issue.”

Ms Dinneen spoke of the good atmosphere at the authority and said she would be working to maintain its excellent status.

“It is a well run authority, an excellent authority, so it is not as if I came in to mend something that is broken,” she said. “The challenge is about maintaining the excellence.”

Keen to dispel the myth that local government employees do not work hard, she added: “People have this perception that people in local government do not work very hard. It is a real myth than needs to be exposed. People do work really hard. It is not an easy ride compared to the private sector. The vast majority of people who I have worked with work really hard and are really dedicated to what they do.”


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