Town hall in a straight swap

Blackpool Town Hall.
Blackpool Town Hall.
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A leading councillor today said she is looking forward to a fresh challenge following a town hall reshuffle.

Coun Sarah Riding is set to take on a new role as portfolio holder for health on Blackpool Council.

Work commitments have forced her to leave her previous cabinet job in charge of children’s services and schools.

In a direct switch, Coun Ivan Taylor is leaving the health portfolio to take on that job, a position he has previously held.

Coun Riding, who will take on responsibility for tackling child poverty and whose brief will include the council’s controversial free school breakfasts scheme, said: “Coun Taylor and I have always worked well together so it is an easy transition.

“I am really proud of what we have achieved so far in children’s services but I am looking forward to taking on another challenging role looking after health.

“The biggest challenge is the general layer of poverty that leads to poor health in terms of issues such as diet and mental health.”

Coun Riding helped lead changes after the council’s children’s services were rated inadequate by Ofsted in August last year.

The reshuffle has also seen the scrapping of the cabinet post for equality, diversity, technology and youth employment, held by Chris Maughan before he stepped down from the council, with those responsibilities being distributed to other portfolio holders.

This will save £5,756 a year.

Council leader Coun Simon Blackburn said: “Coun Riding has done a fantastic job for the children and young people of Blackpool in her role.

“You will struggle to find a councillor with greater commitment and knowledge of her portfolio. The experience she brought from her background in education and working with young people has been invaluable.

“Coun Taylor, as everyone knows, is an experienced and well-respected councillor with a great breadth of knowledge and is the ideal person to continue the excellent work the children’s services team are doing in this key area.”

Coun Peter Hunter, who won the Highfield by-election, is set to be appointed to serve on the council’s Audit, Health and Scrutiny committee and take up a role on the board of the Sandcastle Waterpark.

The changes come into effect from Monday.