Meet the senior leadership team for the new Buckinghamshire Council – the team who will drive forward the brand new council.
Rachael Shimmin – Chief Executive
Rachael Shimmin has been Chief Executive of Buckinghamshire County Council since September 2016. Previously, she was Corporate Director for Children and Adults Services at Durham County Council having responsibility for a revenue budget of over £800m and team of 3,000+ people. Rachael has extensive experience in the key sectors of children’s services, adult social care, health and community safety.
Rachael helped to lead local government reorganisation in County Durham, delivering a unitary council in 2009, with significant financial savings and service improvements. The Council went on to become Council of the Year in 2014. Previously, Rachael was regional Chair of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS)/ The Association of Directors of Children’s Services (ADCS) and the local government representative on a variety of regional and national boards focusing on issues relating to health and social care.
Rachael is a qualified Executive Coach and Peer Reviewer for the Local Government Association.
Currently, Rachael is a member of the Association of County Chief Executives (ACCE), clerk to the Lieutenancy in the County of Buckinghamshire, Local Government representative for the Buckinghamshire Oxfordshire and Berkshire West STP, Lead Chief Executive for South East Strategic Leaders and member of the University of Bedfordshire University Court. Additionally, Rachael is the County Council representative for The Association of Local Authority Chief Executives and Senior Managers (ALACE), County Council representative for the Local Government Association Housing Board and member of the Local Government Association Prevention at Scale Programme Board.
Rachael was appointed as the first Chief Executive of the new unitary council, Buckinghamshire Council in September 2019. She was awarded the OBE for services to social care in 2014.
Sarah Ashmead – Deputy Chief Executive
New Deputy Chief Executive Sarah Ashmead joins the new Buckinghamshire Council from her previous role as Executive Director Resources for Buckinghamshire County Council. She has worked in a series of different teams across the County Council, including education, strategic partnerships, and corporate services, and her roles have included Assistant Chief Executive and Monitoring Officer. Sarah started her career in the Civil Service at the Department for Education. In her spare time, she is a keen runner, enjoying regular parkruns and occasional marathons.
Richard Barker – Corporate Director Communities
New Corporate Director Communities Richard Barker has recently worked as Corporate Director of Communities at the London Borough of Waltham Forest, with responsibility for Education, Special Educational Needs & Disabilities, Public Health, Sports and Leisure and Community Engagement including a focus around connecting communities and life chances. Before that he enjoyed a number of roles at Westminster City Council over a 13 year period including Executive Director for City Management and Communities with responsibility for a variety of neighbourhood and highways services. In his spare time he is secretary and coach for a voluntary and community sports club for children and young people.
Joe O’Sullivan – Corporate Director Resources
New Corporate Director Resources, Joe O’Sullivan joins the new Buckinghamshire Council from recently working with Warwickshire Police and West Mercia Police, where he led a comprehensive business review and design programme for the full spectrum of supporting services to both forces. A former army officer, he has held a series of roles dealing with strategy and operations at the national level and led major business change programmes in both national and multinational organisations. He is a graduate of the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, where he also taught on the staff of The Royal College of Defence Studies. While at the Royal College his studies included examining the approach to strategic planning used by the justice system, industry, policing, prisons, public health, education and media organisations in the West Midlands.
Gill Quinton – Corporate Director Adult Services and Health
Named as Corporate Director for Adult Services and Health, Gill Quinton joins the new Council from her previous role as Executive Director for Communities, Health and Social Care at Buckinghamshire County Council. Gill started her career in retail management with the Kingfisher Group and has since focussed on public sector roles. Gill joined Buckinghamshire County Council in 2005, and has held various senior roles including Director of HR and Organisational Development and Director of Resources and Executive Director for Communities, Health and Adult Social Care. Gill is also part of the leadership team for the Buckinghamshire Integrated Care Partnership, to provide better joined-up local health and care services and help people to stay healthier for longer. A past President of the national Public Sector People Managers Association (PPMA), Gill was a member of the editorial board of People Management Magazine and was named one of the Most Influential HR Practitioners in the Country by Human Resources magazine from 2010 to 2017, as well as one of the top ten most influential HR practitioners of the decade.
Ian Thompson – Corporate Director Planning, Growth and Sustainability
New Corporate Director Planning, Growth and Sustainability, Ian Thompson has 30 years’ experience in local government. Currently Corporate Director Regeneration and Economic Development / Regeneration and Local Services at Durham County Council, Ian was part of the corporate management team that brought the Durham unitary council together. His strong background in regeneration, development and planning results from previous roles at Calderdale, Stockton on Tees, Basingstoke and Dean, City of York, Barking and Dagenham and Sunderland councils. Ian is a keen golfer, cricketer and footballer who enjoys cooking and gardening.
Tolis Vouyioukas – Corporate Director Children’s Services
Named as Corporate Director Children’s Services, Tolis Vouyioukas is currently Buckinghamshire County Council Executive Director for Children’s Services. He joined the County Council from the London Borough of Sutton and is a qualified social worker with a background in psychology, who started his career in the UK at Essex County Council in the early 1990s. He was appointed to one of the first jointly funded posts in the country across education and children’s social care. Tolis is passionate about making a positive difference to the lives of the children and families we work with in the county.