Lewisham Council - The Chief Executive

The Chief Executive

Lewisham Council’s Chief Executive is Barry Quirk CBE.

He leads the work of the Council’s staff and is accountable for the overall effectiveness and efficiency of their work in delivering services and social results locally.

The Chief Executive works closely with the directly elected Mayor and elected councillors to provide:

  • positive results – setting the Council’s management arrangements and practices to ensure effective and efficient delivery of services through well organised and motivated staff 
  • strategic direction – ensuring that the Mayor and Council’s priorities and goals can be implemented through focused strategies, projects and programmes
  • policy advice – acting as the principal policy adviser to the directed elected Mayor and elected councillors and securing best professional advice on all relevant matters in respect of the Council’s functions and services
  • partnerships – leading and developing effective partnerships at management level with other public agencies, private companies and local community organisations to achieve better public services and improved results for local people
  • operational management – ensuring that the Council has the highest standards of achievement in financial and budgetary management; the management of service performance; the management of emergencies and risks generally; the management of suppliers; and the overall management of change and improvement within the Council.

The Chief Executive is expected to work outside his contracted hours as necessary, including evenings and weekends to deal with any serious and urgent matters and to ensure that the service is maintained. He also covers duties for both Lewisham and London-wide emergency planning requirements No additional payments are made to him for these additional duties.

In July 2011 the Chief Executive began his new terms and conditions for the Council where his working hours have been reduced to the equivalent of three days per week. For this he receives an inclusive salary of £115,432. He works flexibly to suit the Council’s needs and continues to be available to lead the Council’s management in the event of emergencies.

Barry Quirk has been Chief Executive at Lewisham since November 1993. He has worked in local government for over 35 years, with experience in five London councils. He is a leading local government chief executive nationally, involved in the improvement of public services across London and the UK.

In July 2010, the Government launched a comprehensive review of all capital investment in schools and Barry Quirk was appointed by the Secretary of State for Education to be a member of the independent review team. The review report was published in April 2011. Between 2004 to 2009, he was the Government’s national 'efficiency champion' for local government, with the Government reimbursing the Council for the time he spent performing this role by way of a grant payment. In 2007, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government invited him to undertake a review on the potential for community ownership and management of public assets. His landmark report set the basis for significant change in community control of public assets across the country. In 2007 he was the President of the national association for local government chief executives (SOLACE) and served as its national Chairman until 2009. As Lewisham’s chief executive, he has served in a number of London-wide roles (including crime reduction, service efficiency, health improvement and child protection).

Barry Quirk is a qualified teacher and housing professional with an academic background in public policy – he has a PhD in social and political geography. He is a Visiting Fellow in Social Policy and Politics at Goldsmiths, University of London and is an Associate at the independent Institute for Government. He was awarded a CBE in 2001 for services to London local government.


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