Council appoints chief executive

A new interim chief executive has been formally appointed by councillors to run Bristol City Council as its top civil servant.

Paul Martin was given the job  during an extraordinary full council meeting on June 3, which lasted less than five minutes. That followed an interview from a committee of councillors, held behind closed doors.

The chief executive of the council is politically neutral, unlike the leader of the council or a directly elected mayor, who are elected politicians in political parties. Mr Martin will be tasked with advising and supporting councillors on delivering their policy plans for the city.

Green Councillor Tony Dyer, leader of the council, said: “This has gone through a robust selection committee, with a cross-party membership. There was also the opportunity for all of the party group leaders to meet and discuss with Paul. The LGA [Local Government Association] provided an independent person who assessed the process as being robust.”

Mr Martin was previously the chief executive of Wandsworth and Richmond-upon-Thames borough councils in London, and the chief executive for the Jersey government. He will manage the council through a period of transition, as the new committee system gets up and running.

Stephen Peacock, the former chief executive, is leaving the council for a new role as the chief executive of the West of England Combined Authority. He had been in the top job at the council for less than two years.

The chief executive is the council’s main policy adviser, manager and coordinator. Mr Martin is taking on the job on an interim basis, so might only be leading Bristol City Council for a short time, before a more long-term replacement is found.