Chief Executive

The current Chief Executive is Gillian Norton, who was appointed in August 1999.

About the Chief Executive

The Chief Executive is the senior officer who leads and takes responsibility for the work of the paid staff of the Council. The Council is a large and diverse organisation with a turnover of more than £400 million. It is responsible for a very wide range of statutory services and employs some 1,900 non schools staff. The Council is judged by external regulators to be performing well providing high quality, low cost services which represent good value for money.

The role of Chief Executive is a full time appointment. Post holders are selected on merit, against objective criteria, following public advertisement. They are appointed by the whole Council.

As head of the paid service, the Chief Executive works closely with elected members to deliver:

  • Leadership: working with elected members to ensure strong and visible leadership and direction, encouraging and enabling managers to motivate and inspire their teams.
  • Strategic direction: ensuring all staff understand and adhere to the strategic aims of the organisation and follow the direction set by the elected members.
  • Policy advice: acting as the principal policy adviser to the elected members of the Council to lead the development of workable strategies which will deliver the political objectives set by elected members.
  • Partnerships: leading and developing strong partnerships across the local community to achieve improved outcomes and better public services for local people.
  • Operational management: overseeing financial and performance management, risk management, people management and change management within the council.

Gillian's background

Gillian started her career as a graduate trainee at the Greater London Council and after a number of promotions became Assistant to the Director General. In 1985 on the demise of the GLC she moved to Woking Borough Council with responsibilities for policy, performance and human resources. In 1994 she was appointed Chief Executive of Wokingham Borough Council, initially as a district then unitary authority.


Salary is set by the Council. The current range is £166,993.50 to £176,214 and Mrs Norton is paid £176,214. Progress through the range is subject to annual performance appraisal; progression is dependent upon good performance.

She receives no other payments, including no other payments for any of the elections for which she is Returning Officer or Acting Returning Officer.

In the last financial year (2012/13) her expenses (for train, car mileage and parking) were £461.36. Expenses are paid only for costs incurred and evidence of expenditure is required.

Mrs Norton is a member of the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS). She contributes 13,216.20 of her salary towards her pension. The Council makes employer’s contribution to the LGPS. The amount which is paid varies depending upon how much is needed to ensure benefits under the scheme are adequately funded; this amount is set independently by the pension fund’s actuary.

The LGPS is a final salary scheme. This means staff receive a pension based on the period of time they have contributed to the scheme and their final salary.

Working arrangements

The Chief Executive is expected to work such hours as are necessary to ensure the job gets done. This routinely involves evenings as well as the standard Monday to Friday business week.

Occasional weekend working is required. The Chief Executive is 'on call' at all other times, particularly to cover emergency planning requirements.

No extra payments are made for such extended hours.

The Chief Executive is entitled to 35 days paid leave each year

Contact the Chief Executive

Gillian Norton

Chief Executive
London Borough of Richmond upon Thames
Civic Centre

Telephone: 020 8891 7908
Fax: 020 8891 7703

Updated: 27 March 2014