Council boss switches east London authorities

Claire Symonds was recognised for her role in the borough's response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Claire Symonds has been appointed as Redbridge Council chief executive - Credit: LBBD

Redbridge Council has appointed a new chief executive, who has been filling the same role in a temporary capacity for Barking and Dagenham.

Claire Symonds will join Redbridge at the end of May, subject to council ratification.

She has served as acting chief executive of Barking and Dagenham Council from March 2020 to March 2021, and again since the start of this year.

Fiona Taylor will become acting chief executive on her departure.

Claire worked for Tower Hamlets Council from 2005 to 2013 and then for Barnet Council from 2013 to 2015, before joining Barking and Dagenham as deputy chief executive and chief operating officer.

She was awarded the Freedom of the Borough by Barking and Dagenham last April in recognition of her work in leading the council's pandemic response.

Council leader Darren Rodwell said: “Claire has been hugely loyal to Barking and Dagenham and she’s been a massive part of the council’s transformation and in helping to lay foundations for our next phase.

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"During the pandemic, Claire was instrumental in keeping our organisation going through some of the most challenging times, keeping our staff engaged and motivated.

"I know the organisation will miss her hugely and we wish her all the best at Redbridge.”

Claire grew up in Redbridge, went to school in the borough and started her career there as a community charge assistant.

Welcoming her appointment, Redbridge Council leader Jas Athwal said: “Claire will bring a wealth of experience and expertise to the role.

"Her strong ties to our borough complement her impressive skillset and I am looking forward to working with her to continue to deliver for our neighbours across Redbridge.”

Claire replaces interim chief executive Lesley Seary, who joined Redbridge in April last year.

Cllr Athwal added: “Lesley has done a fantastic job supporting and guiding the council while we sought and found a permanent replacement.

"I would like to thank Lesley for all that she has done for this borough, this council and our residents."

Redbridge's previous chief executive Andy Donald left in early 2021 after five years at the helm.