Four senior appointments for West Northamptonshire’s future unitary council

In the next exciting step for the future, the West Northamptonshire shadow authority formally approved four key appointments on Tuesday, 15th September. These are key statutory positions, which will play important roles in the success of the future West Northamptonshire Authority and builds on the appointment of Chief Executive, Anna Earnshaw, announced in August.

These were recommended by the Shadow Council’s Senior Appointments Committee, who developed an open and robust selection process with Councillors and involved valuable feedback from stakeholders across health, police, partners and the voluntary sector.

Martin Henry has been appointed to the role of Director of Finance and Statutory Section 151 Officer (Chief Finance Officer). Martin is currently the interim Section 151 Officer for West Northamptonshire Shadow Authority and also the Executive Director of Finance and Property at South Northamptonshire Council. He has worked in and with local government and the wider public sector for almost 30 years and has spent nearly 15 years of that period as a Chief Financial Officer.  Martin has extensive experience of operational financial management, as well as delivering a range of successful corporate strategies and procedures.

The committee recommended that Catherine Whitehead be appointed to the role of Director of Legal and Democratic Services and Statutory Monitoring Officer. Catherine is currently the Head of Democratic, Legal and Policy/ Monitoring Officer for Wycombe District Council. She is a highly experienced lawyer who has operated at senior board level for over 15 years. She has successfully advised and delivered on unitary transition and transformation.

Stuart Lackenby has been appointed as Director of Adult Social Service and Statutory DASS officer. Stuart is currently the Director of Adult Social Care for Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council. He is a registered social worker and has worked in Adult Social care for over 22 years, operating at a senior level for the past 5 years. He brings considerable experience of strategic leadership planning and successful implementation of change and transformation.

Cathi Hadley will take up the role of Shared Director of Children’s Services and Statutory DCS (joint with North Northamptonshire Council). Cathi is the current Director of Children’s Services for Northamptonshire County Council and has been leading the improvement agenda over the last 10 months. She brings a wide range of both social care and business skills to the role and has worked with Hampshire and Isle of Wight Councils and spent time in provision of fostering services.

Leader of the West Northants Shadow Authority, Cllr Ian McCord, said:

“We’re delighted with our chosen appointments in these vital roles for the new West Northants Council. We’re confident that we’re creating a strong senior management team to move through this exciting programme of change and transformation and create a great authority for the future.”

The recommended appointments were presented at the West Northamptonshire Shadow Authority meeting on 15th September, the papers for which can be viewed here.

West Northamptonshire Council is a new unitary council being formed as part of local government reorganisation in Northants. The eight existing councils will be disbanded and two new unitary councils will come into being from the 1st April 2021. For more information about the new West Northamptonshire Council, visit or follow Future Northants West on Twitter or Facebook.