Improving educational attainment is ‘top priority’ in wake of council’s cabinet reshuffle

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Suffolk County Council bosses have pledged that improving educational attainment is their ‘top priority’ as the authority’s new cabinet line-up is revealed.

Leader Mark Bee has re-shaped his committee of councillors who will help steer the council’s policies over the next four years with Red Lodge Cllr Lisa Chambers taking on the deputy leadership and portfolio for education, skills and young people.

She replaces former education cabinet member Graham Newman, who has been given responsibility for roads and transport.

Cllr Bee has also created a new role, cabinet member for localities, which goes to Thingoe North Cllr Rebecca Hopfensperger, who will ensure the council’s work supports local initiatives across Suffolk.

Cllr Colin Noble takes responsibility for finance and property, Richard Smith looks after economic development, environment and planning and Colin Spence is cabinet member for public protection.

Meanwhile, Cllr Alan Murray will oversee health and adult care.

Cllr Bee said: “No one is under any illusion that the challenges Suffolk faces in the next four years are unprecedented and as such, the county council needs the strongest possible team to lead our response.

“The cabinet I have created provides that strength and combines an important mix of experience and new talent.

“Improving the educational attainment of Suffolk children is our top priority which is why I have made it the direct responsibility of the deputy leader, and set out plans to create a new scrutiny committee specifically on this issue.

“My proposals also give more say on decision-making to backbench and opposition councillors.

“I’m confident that these changes will put the county council in the strongest possible position to overcome the challenges we face.”

The cabinet will be officially appointed when Cllr Bee is confirmed as the council’s leader at the next meeting of the full council on May 23.