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Agenda item

To receive any announcements from the Mayor, Leader, Members of the Cabinet or the Chief Executive


The Mayor made the following announcement


I would like to mention, I’m sure some of you would have seen the Offa procession through the town at the weekend.  I would like to put it on public record that in my opinion it was one of the greatest, finest parades and one of the most worthy things that we have done for a good many years.  There was so many smiling faces round to the Town as we processed, there was a fantastic performance by the Thegns of Mercia re-enactment society in the church and they were doing the re-enactment of Offa signing the various deeds and records in Tamworth and I can’t begin to think how much better it could have been. I think congratulations are certainly in order to Lara Rowe, who was mainly behind organising and everyone who was involved, the Church the Civic Society and thanks for putting on a really good show.


Tonight marks the final appearance of our esteemed Chief Executive Mr Andrew Barratt, he is leaving to take up retirement in the Isle of Wight and I’m sure that we all feel the same that we are going to miss a man who is respected throughout the Council whether that be by Councillors, Officers, or anyone else involved.  He is a thoroughly knowledgeable, modest, sagacious man we will miss his advice and his lovely smiling personality, I have never known him not be able to smile.  He’s always got a smile on his face always optimistic, incredibly helpful and admired by everyone, I’m sure.  We are going to miss him terrifically not only for his personality but for his integrity, personality and he is a thoroughly decent nice man who is incredibly good at his job. 


Councillor D Cook


It would be remiss of me not to speak this evening on the matter you have just raised, as the Leader of the Council who originally signed Mr Barratt’s original contract of employment as Chief Executive.  I recall when the previous CE Tony Goodwin was announcing his intention to retire Mr Barratt said to me he had no ambition to be Chief Executive of this Council, none whatsoever.  What was really strange was at the time as Assistant Director Mr Barratt was in control of Marmion House.  Utter control, when I say control, he decided who sat in what office, which department had which floor, and on the 8th floor were all the Assistant Directors were and in the smallest office up there Mr Barratt was in.  You are in control of the entire building, and you give yourself the smallest office on the floor.  I walked down the corridor when I found out Mr Barratt wasn’t intending to apply to be the next Chief Executive and I sat in his office and I said what the hell do you think your’re doing, he said I have no ambition for this, after about 30 minutes his application went in for Chief Executive and he came for an interview and it was the best interview and that’s why he’s Chief Executive, phenomenal interview, laid out what his intentions were, the things he believed needed to change the things that needed to stay the same.  And as we know in 2017 he became Chief Operating Officer, when we trialed a new procedure which was a dual Chief Executive and Deputy Chief Executive almost sharing the role.  However, they then went away reorganised how they wanted to design the council and the structure.  They came back and said we want to change it and I said if that’s what you want then to do it.  Because I’ve always believed if you don’t trust your senior officers what are we doing.  They put a structure together that took us forward and I’ve always believed in Andrew, he was a phenomenal Chief Executive.  There’s two officers of this council we have had some fantastic officers over the years, but two have massively stood out for me, one was Tony Goodwin, when I was first elected it was said if its broken give it Tony Goodwin and when I became Leader I made Tony Goodwin, Chief Executive and that mantle was taken by Andrew Barratt, if it’s broken give it Andrew Barratt, guess what happened he became Chief Executive.  Some of my favourite ever conversations with Andrew have always ended like this, Danny do you want me to make this go away. Not as in hide it, not as in let’s cover it up, as in do you want me to make this just stop being the problem, yes please Andrew and never heard anything about it again because it genuinely went away, again not as a cover up as in proper management, as in I’m going to deal with this now.  And that’s why he’s been an exceptional Chief Executive and that’s why Tamworth as developed so well under his guidance.  I’m going to miss Andrew massively, it’s quite strange Andrew joined the council one year before I was first elected, this is also my last council meeting I intend not to re-stand, so you’ve got one year on me Andrew, but it’s been a pleasure over those years working with you.  I remember when I was  first made a cabinet member by Cllr Oates in 2006,  I was quickly running around, its strange being a cabinet member for the first time it’s like you’d passed a job interview and you arrive for work on the first day nobody tells you where your desk is, nobody tells you what your role is you just have to figure it out.  Andrew grabbed me by the back of the neck and said right son this is what you need to be looking at, this is what you need to be doing.  I’ll always thank him for that, he took me forward and anything I’ve ever achieved in this Council was from the guidance of Andrew and Tony but especially Andrew, he was the first one to grab hold of me and say, stop, think, read your papers, understand what you’re asking, and I’ll always thank you for that.   


Leader of the Council Councillor Thomas Jay


I’ve not known Andrew as long as some of the others here, but he has served the town for 21 years and done an amazing job.  I’ve worked closely with him the last year and have found him to be rational, level-headed, gives sound advice to the Leader which is important to the Leadership and genuinely cares about the town he serves, and I want to wish you and your wife many happy times in the Isle of wight and thanks for everything.


I would also like to thank Cllr Cook.  Anyone that serves the Town knows it’s a hard job and you have done it for 20 years and deserves a thank you. 


Councillor J Oates. 


Councillor Cook as already suggested that Andrew was here a year longer than yourself, I was already here when Andrew arrived, I remember Andrew coming to the authority at the time when the then Labour controlling group were looking at Housing Repairs we went through the process of outsourcing   If you want to put it that way, the DSO which was our own in-house repairs team.   Andrew did an audit of the service, and the outcomes of that audit included the outsourcing of that team.  The reasons are well documented and we can look back if we want to. 


What Andrew did then was possibly under anticipated the problem that he created, because the new company that came in were too successful and in 2005 we were looking at a 1.2 million pound over spend in housing repairs and the Assistant Director and the Director at the time  told me that we’ve got this over spend with 1.2 million pound and Councillor Cook came up to me at the time and said we need to buy more chemicals for the pool at peaks and it's going to cost a couple of grand I went Danny I've just found out there is  a 1.2 million pound hole in housing repairs go and buy your chemicals I'm a bit distracted.


So we went to Andrew in the way that Councillor Cook explained, if you want a problem going away take it to Andrew and we took it to Andrew.  Everyone's panicking what to do about this projected 1.2 million quid and Andrew phoned up the housing repairs company and went stop repairing things please.   Let's have a chance to review it and guess what they stop repairing things we stopped paying them, we were able to navigate our way through that simply by taking the common-sense approach.


So obviously Andrew's gone on to great things since then and there's a privilege that only Leaders have T Jay would have experienced this and  Paul Turner.  Danny and I have and that is you end up spending lots of time in cars or in meetings or commuting with Chief Executives, and the great thing about Andrew is his professionalism but also he's a personal individual.  We could talk about things like the GPS LEP, the Combined Authority, you know huge projects and at the same time on the train we're talking about too good to go Apps and whether he could get food on his way to the Isle of Wight that weekend cheap by pre-ordering it.  You know it was that personal involvement that Andrew brought, professional but also personal and it's a result of that there was always a context to discussions so his professionalism, his history  in the in the building industry you're able to sit there and have a proper discussion from both sides of the of the spectrum and I'm not going to say Andrew swore a lot but he certainly did say to me a number of times something to do with oars on a boat or I'm sure it was rowlocks.   Andrew and I shared a number of different hobbies I wasn't involved to the extent Andrews was but we both used to sail so we're able to have those conversations.   I remember standing there in his office in 2004/2005 to talk about stock transfer with a potential housing stock, what Andrew and I would talk about was whether you could get a photo of Ventura Park at night from the top of the block of flats because we were interested in photography.  So, I think what Andrew has brought is a sense of Personality to the role of Chief Exec, I'll miss some of those discussions.  We do need to go for a pint but you've done a sterling job at the different roles and like Councillor Cook said if you want something going away you take it to Andrew and Andrew fixes the problem and that's what he's done successfully for over 20 years so thank you very much for everything you've done Andrew and I wish you all the best in your retirement and don't get too tempted to get involved in local politics in Isle of Wight. 




Councillor R Pritchard


When I started as a young whipper snapper there were many things I always considered the constant in the council chamber and in this authority.  You always expect them to be there, the only sort of consistent thing with those over the years is they tend to disappear and there are members on the opposition side members on our side that are no longer here but when I think of the authority I think of those people being around still and the same’s true for many officers and Andy is one of those.  You know it doesn't matter how long I've been involved in local politics but I'll always associate Andy Barratt with the Council and the Council with Andy Barratt.  Andy started, as mentioned not long before I was elected so I kind of feel you know as an officer going through the ranks and remember going through the ranks, we've been on a journey together and got up to all sorts of, should we say completely legal adventures we've never broken any rules to do the right thing for the town but I think that's speaks testament to Andy because Andy was never an officer  that would let red tape get in the way of  doing the right thing if something needed doing he would get it done, and it is a testament to good Local Government Officers, Andy always knew what was best for the town, he was always there to give sage advice, always there to give good counsel and as far as I'm concerned he's a model Local Government Officer. 


Andy always understood the bigger picture, always knows the value of the destination we were getting to.  The BMX tracks springs to mind as a project again, you know something that red tape wouldn't get in the way of, so I had a great idea let's build a Let's build a BMX track on land we don't own, with no funds to do so, no in house how else expertise.  But without Andy's help that project would never have happened because Andy was invaluable in navigating the obstacles, suggesting ideas and things to look at and making some of the red tape go away so we could deliver these great projects for Tamworth and that's an outlook Andy’s always had.


 I want to thank you for that for the attitude you've brought to local government, and you really have made a difference to this town, you've made a lasting difference that you should be proud of. It's very sad to see you go, not only is this authority in this town is losing a very competent officer we're losing a huge amount of knowledge and those that will be around for a long time will know the things that Andy has been around to help deliver, to help develop, to help drive and all the little things that we've all forgotten that Andy knows about and that knowledge gap will be a big blow to this Council, but you know you’ve very much earned  your retirement and the please do enjoy it and we will miss you



 Councillor Doyle


I echo everything that's been said in this chamber tonight.  When I first started on Cabinet you were my first officer for the portfolio and I think we got on really, really well.  You've been a great bloke to work, with whenever I needed to contact you you've always been there for advice, and I've learned an awful lot from you and from other members in the council as well.   I've had a great time working with yourself and I will miss you and I hope you all the best for the future.


Councillor C Dean


I can't hope to speak with the length of Councillor Oates and Councillor Cook, I’ve only been working with Mr Barrett for around 9 or 10 months, but that time has been very educational, I'm very grateful for the way that you've dealt with us.  I have a bit of sadness about the knowledge that we will lose when you go you know when somebody's been here for that length of time that knowledge is invaluable and it can't be replaced, it takes a long time for somebody else to put that in place. I'm quite sad that you won't be around to see the town centre come to fruition, the work that you've started there. The other thing I'd like to say is that as nice as you’ve been to me and how courteous you've been to me you did make me cry on International Women's Day, the speech that you gave, it was very very emotional and it was lovely to see that side and see the human side of you so thank you for that and I wish you well and hope you and your wife enjoy the Isle of Wight, I'm sure it’s got to be better weather hasn't it than here.


Response from Chief Executive Andrew Barratt


Unusually for me I have absolutely nothing prepared.  I wasn't expecting that and yes, it's a big day for me and a big sort of couple of weeks really.  I've really really enjoyed my time here (I would say that it’s being televised) but you know it's a magical place. As some of you have known me for the length of time I've been here you’ll know I came here for a couple of years because the job sounded interesting and 21 years later I'm still here. There's something about Tamworth that is absolutely magical and special.  I’ve really enjoyed my time here and I've been fortunate to progress throughout the authority. We've got some great people in your authority; the staff make this work.  You're a good bunch of members if I can refer to you that I don't know what the collective is for members but you know regardless of your political differences when it matters you've always made the right choice and I think that is important. And as Chief and a senior officer  that's really important to know that we've got that level of sort of workability between ourselves. 

And international women's day yes, I got quite emotional myself, a subject very close to my heart so I am human (ish) but thank you all for your wonderful comments. Tamworth is in a great place, and  from Stephens point, I know he's watching us  (the incoming chief) I know he's got a task to do over the next few years and you will all get there with him.