As Leader of the Council I provide leadership to the Council on all matters and particularly all major strategic, corporate and cross-cutting and commercially sensitive issues and the Budget and Capital programme.
I provide community leadership for partners, residents and other interests in order to improve quality of life and satisfaction in the City and co-ordinate and apportion the roles and responsibilities of Executive Members.
The Portfolio of Leader comprises the following responsibilities:--
Strategic and policy overview,
- Communications, Reputation and Influencing,
- Strategic economic development and inward investment,
- Strategic partnerships,
- Sunderland Way of Working and strategic improvement programmes,
- International Strategy and Programmes, and
- Regional and sub-regional governance.
I was born in, and have lived all my life in Sunderland. After serving my time as an apprentice, I worked as a shipwright at Sunderland Shipbuilders until I was made redundant in 1981. I have been self-employed ever since. I married Susan and studied law at Teeside University, gaining an Honours Degree in 1998.
Since joining the Council I have been elected to chair the Association of North East Councils and I am also the regional representative on the Local Government Association, which is a national body for Local Government in England. I also sit on the Executive body of this Association. I am an elected member of the Committee of the Regions which is the official advisory body to the European Parliament and Commission. Chair of the Sunderland Health and Wellbeing Board, Member of the LEP Board and its Strategic Economic Plan Sub Committee and its Skills Partnership Sub-Committee. I have been elected as Chair of the new organisation known as Key cities which represents 22 cities such as Coventry, Preston and Derby who exist to represent the interests in six cities.