ST HELENS Council’s former monitoring officer has returned to the authority as its new director of legal and HR.

Jan Bakewell was the council’s deputy director of legal and governance but left the authority last summer to join Cheshire East Council as its director of governance and compliance services.

The appointment is part of an ongoing restructuring of the council’s senior management team, part of wider plans to modernise the authority.

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Ms Bakewell and Asad Mushtaq, the council’s new director of finance, were interviewed remotely by councillors on the appointments committee prior to being selected for the new roles.

Shortlists for both roles had been made with pre-interviews carried out by officers, but it is understood no other candidates were interviewed by the appointments committee.

Following her appointment, Ms Bakewell will also be taking over monitoring officer duties from legal services manager Mark Fisher.

She is expected to join the authority in August. The two new directors will both work directly under the council’s executive director of corporate services, Cath Fogarty.

Several new appointments to St Helens Council’s senior management team have been made in recent months, with all except the two new directors now in post.

The council is also recruiting for a director of children’s services.

Welcoming Ms Bakewell’s appointment, Cllr David Baines, leader of St Helens Council said: “It is wonderful to welcome Jan back to St Helens Council.

“She has a vast amount of experience in local government, especially in legal services and governance, and we are very lucky to have her back.

“Jan – along with our new executive director of place Lisa Harris and assistant chief executive Rob Huntington, together with chief executive Kath O’Dwyer and existing directors, will form a skilled and experienced senior management team.

“We set out back in December to build a team that will help us to deliver quality services for our residents and modernise and transform the council.

“In the current climate their skills and expertise is needed now more than ever, as they work together to help the council develop innovative ways to provide accessible services to our communities.”

St Helens Star: Asad Mushtaq has been appointed as St Helens Council’s new director of financeAsad Mushtaq has been appointed as St Helens Council’s new director of finance

On Thursday, the authority also announced the appointment of Mr Mushtaq, who is currently head of finance and property at Burnley Borough and has previously worked as finance manager at Westminster City Council.

He is expected to start as St Helens Council’s new director of finance in September.

Cllr Baines said Mr Mushtaq will play a “vital” role in the coming months as the authority continues its ‘One Council’ modernisation programme and pursue its new regeneration partnership with English Cities Fund.

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He said: “Asad is joining our council at an incredibly important time as we look to support St Helens borough through the recovery from the financial implications of the coronavirus pandemic.

“He brings with him a wealth of experience and will be a vital part of the team as we look to reset the organisation through our One Council programme.

“Asad will also play a role in supporting our new partnership with English Cities Fund which offers us the chance to transform the borough.”