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Senior management structure

The Senior Management team are the senior managers responsible for running the council.

The Senior Management team is led by the Council's Chief Executive.

Details of the directors and assistant directors within each directorate can be found below.

Chief Executive


Andrew joined us in January 2020 from his role as the Director of Operations for Mid Devon District Council where he was responsible for a wide range of in-house services; including waste, leisure, regulatory services and social housing stock (HRA). Before that, he worked for a variety of public facing organisations, including an off-shore Crown Dependency and the Ministry of Defence.

His most recent role at SWT has been Director of External Services and Climate Change.

Andrew has responsibility for:

  • ​Corporate & Strategic Management​
  • Elections ​
  • Corporate Governance​
  • GDPR​
  • Head of Paid Service​
  • Liaison with Government/other agencies​
  • Medium Term Financial Plan​
  • Ombudsman Complaints​
  • Political Liaison​


Chris Hall – Director Development and Place

Chris Started in this role in August 2021 having been with the organisation since 2006, most recently in the role of Assistant Director for Climate Change, Regulatory Services, and Asset Management.

He has a broad range of experience with notable achievements such as the commercial re-procurement of leisure delivery, creation of the Somerset Building Control Partnership, Creation of the Joint Climate Change Delivery Partnership along with a number of large scale delivery programmes.

With responsibility for;

  • Regeneration Capital Projects including the Authorities flagship project at Firepool
  • Taunton Garden Town delivery
  • The Commercial Investment Portfolio
  • Heritage
  • Hinkley
  • Planning Policy and implementation
  • Phosphates response
  • Development Management
  • Economic Recovery and Economic growth
  • Local Land Charges

Assistant Directors

Joe Wharton - Major and Special Projects 

With responsibility for:

  • Delivery of all regeneration projects including Firepool
  • Town Centre and Regeneration Programmes
  • Garden Town delivery
  • Commercial Property Investment Portfolio
  • Heritage at Risk Programme
  • Active Travel
  • Hinkley Point C Relationship

Alison Blom-Cooper - Strategic Place and Planning

With responsibility for:

  • Development Management
  • Planning Enforcement
  • Local Land Charges
  • Green Infrastructure
  • Planning Policy and Implementation
  • Economic Development
  • Garden Town

Director External Operations and Climate Change

With responsibility for;

  • Corporate lead responding to the declared Climate Emergency
  • Corporate lead for Emergency Planning, Preparedness and Response
  • Coastal Protection Authority
  • Somerset Rivers Authority
  • Asset Management
  • Parks and Open Spaces
  • Major Contracts (including Leisure and Building Control)
  • Street Scene (including Refuse and Street Cleaning)
  • Environmental Services (including Car Parking and Bereavement Services)
  • Regulatory Services
  • Commercial Services
  • Public Health and Wellbeing

Assistant Directors

Jonathan Stevens - Climate Change, Regulatory Services and Asset Management

With responsibility for:

  • Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience plan planning and delivery
  • EV infrastructure and world first DC Share pilot
  • Renewable Energy, Creating Green Links and Country Parks
  • Somerset Rivers Authority Management Group
  • Coastal Protection, erosion prevention schemes, flood prevention and response
  • Beaches, Harbours and Marina compliance
  • Asset Management
  • Facilities Management
  • Environmental Health, Public Health (including infection control) and Licensing
  • Private Sector Housing (including Statutory Nuisance)

Stuart Noyce - Commercial Services

With responsibility for:

  • Parks and Open Spaces
  • Major Contracts; Waste (Somerset Waste Partnership), Leisure (SLM), Street Cleaning and Public Toilets (Idverde), Building Control (Somerset Building Control Partnership)
  • Bereavement Services
  • Planning Obligations
  • Car Parks
  • Emergency Planning/Resilience
  • Fleet Management

Alison North – Director Internal Operations

Before taking up the role of Internal Operations Director (Interim), Alison worked at Somerset West and Taunton (SWT) as the People Manager Business Partner, with responsibility for HR, Payroll and People Management including change and organisational development.

Alison has worked with SWT since 2002, in various roles, working directly with corporate clients, leading on organisational development and transformation. She is a results driven people leader with a focus on influencing business strategy and steering the organisation to drive better business performance through people.

With responsibility for;

  • Finance
  • Revenues and Benefits
  • Income Control
  • Procurement
  • Communications (Internal and External)
  • HR and People Function
  • Health and Safety
  • Payroll
  • Business Continuity
  • Internal Change
  • Information Technology
  • Governance
  • Business Intelligence

Assistant Directors

Richard Sealy - Customer

With responsibility for:

  • Corporate Strategy
  • Business Intelligence
  • Corporate Performance and Risk Management
  • Corporate Programme Management
  • Customer Services and Deane Helpline
  • Customer Engagement Strategy
  • Digital Mailroom
  • Accounts Payable and Receivable
  • Corporate Administrative Support
  • Direct Debit administration
  • Rent's billing and right to buy
  • Revenues and Benefits

Paul Fitzgerald - Finance (151 Officer) 

With responsibility for:

  • Statutory finance responsibility (S151 Officer)
  • Financial strategy, planning, control and audit
  • Budget setting, monitoring and performance reporting
  • Annual accounts, tax accounting and compliance
  • Capital, Investment and Treasury strategy, planning and operations
  • Commercial Property Investment Board member
  • Banking arrangements and insurance
  • Procurement strategy, advice and compliance

Sean Papworth - Corporate

With responsibility for:

  • People Business Partners
  • Communications and Engagement
  • Health and Safety
  • Digital Strategy
  • Human Resources
  • Payroll
  • Governance
  • Internal Change Projects
  • ICT Business as Usual
  • Business Analysts

James Barrah – Director Housing and Communities

James previously was Head of Commercial Investment for Somerset West and Taunton Council (SWT), responsible for commercial investments, asset management and compliance functions.

James has a long association with SWT starting his career with us in 2005 as Chief Environmental Health Officer and becoming Director of Housing and Communities in 2014 where he had strategic responsibility for corporate projects and services.

In his early career he was a Public Health and Safety Manager for Bristol City Council (2002 -2005). He also holds a Non-Executive Director role for North Devon Homes Housing Association.

With responsibility for;

  • Strategic direction and oversight of Housing and Communities Directorate.
  • Overall accountability for Directorate performance and improvement plans
  • Lead on Housing Revenue Account 30 year financial business plan.
  • Directorate performance, resident engagement and customer experience teams

Assistant Directors

Simon Lewis - Housing and Communities

With responsibility for:

  • Tenancy Management (new tenancies, ASB, debt and benefit support, tenancy compliance)
  • Sheltered and Extra Care Housing Service
  • Rent collection and arrears recovery
  • Allocations and Lettings
  • Housing Options, Homelessness and Homefinder
  • Rough Sleepers accommodation and support
  • Safeguarding
  • Community Resilience and engagement (S106 allocations, CCTV, PSPOs, wider community issues)
  • Community Grants and voluntary and community sector engagement

Ian Candlish - Housing Property 

With responsibility for:

  • Housing Asset Management Strategy
  • Housing and Corporate Property Safety Compliance
  • Housing Responsive Repairs and Void Repairs
  • Direct Labour Organisation – Building Operations
  • Housing Planned Maintenance Capital Programmes
  • Energy Performance and Carbon Reduction to Existing Homes

Chris Brown - Development and Regeneration

With responsibility for:

  • Housing Strategy
  • Housing Partnerships
  • Affordable Housing Enabling
  • HRA Housing Planning and Delivery
  • Housing Regeneration (North Taunton Woolaway Project)
  • Low Carbon affordable homes standard (new build)