New woman at the top for Bedford Borough Council

New Bedford Borough Council CEO, Laura Church.
New Bedford Borough Council CEO, Laura Church.

Laura Church will become the new chief executive of Bedford Borough Council after her position was approved at a Full Council meeting on Wednesday (14 July).

Laura has worked in local government for over 30 years, having been at Luton Borough Council since 1988.

She started in planning but has since taken on roles as the head of Regeneration, service director for Business and Consumer Services and corporate director of Place and Infrastructure.

She has most recently served as deputy chief executive and corporate director for Population Wellbeing with responsibility for adult social care, public health and housing.

“I am very much looking forward to joining Bedford Borough Council as the new Chief Executive,” said Laura.

“After all my time working just down the A6, I am excited to make this move and bring my experience to deliver my best for the Borough.”

Currently, just a third of Local Authority CEOs are women, despite 78% of the UK’s council workforce being female.

Women only account for 17% of all local authority leadership positions, with only 35% of councillors being female.

Laura takes on the role from Phil Simpkins, who retired in May as CEO of Bedford Borough Council after 12 years.

Read: Retiring chief executive set to receive Borough’s top civic honour

Mayor Dave Hodgson said, “I am delighted that Laura will be joining Bedford Borough Council later this year and look forward to working with her.

“She brings a wealth of knowledge, experience and leadership that I know we will all benefit from.”

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