Jean Stretton became the Leader of Oldham Council on January 27, 2016.

She succeeded Jim McMahon in the post having served as Deputy Leader since June 2014.

In June 2016, she was given the newly-created Fairness, Equalities and Cohesion portfolio in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) following the devolution of more powers from a fourth agreement with Government. Cllr Stretton's remit includes the Inclusive Growth agenda.Jean was raised locally on Alt Estate and educated at Alt Primary and Hathershaw Comprehensive schools.  

After studying an MBA at Bolton Institute she returned to live in Hollinwood in 1989.

Jean has lived in Hollinwood since 1989 and was first elected as a ward councillor for the area in 2003.

She has held several Cabinet Member posts covering a wide range of areas that include housing, health and wellbeing, town centres, culture and tourism.

In 2013, Cllr Stretton was named ‘Community Champion of the Year’ at the C’llr Achievement Awards organised by the LGiU for what judges called her “inspiring work to help her community in Oldham recover following a gas explosion” in Shaw.

Married to John, she has two step-children, five grandchildren and a great granddaughter but describes herself as “a very, very young great granny”.

Amongst her other duties, Jean is chair of Oldham Credit Union, a governor at Oasis Academy, Limehurst Primary and has served on the Contour Estate Board since 2003. She is also a keen supporter of Oldham Foodbank

Jean was re-elected to her Hollinwood seat in May 2014 with a 281 vote majority and 50 per cent of the votes cast.

The office

The Council operates a "strong leader" cabinet model, under which the person elected to be the Leader of the Council personally holds all the executive decision making powers.

It a matter of discretion for the Leader whether he/she exercises those powers personally or delegates them.

The Leader may delegate his/her power to:

  • The Cabinet
  • A Cabinet Member
  • A Committee of the Cabinet
  • An Officer in consultation with a Cabinet Member

The Leader will also:

  1. Provide appropriate political and strategic leadership and direction for the Council
  2. Appoint between one and eight councillors, plus a deputy leader, to serve as the Council’s Cabinet
  3. Agree the division of cabinet portfolios
  4. Lead and chair the Cabinet to ensure its overall effectiveness
  5. Ensure effective communication of all executive decisions to the Council and public
  6. Ensure that the Cabinet manages the business of the Council within the policy framework and financial limits set by full Council
  7. Be the main member representative of the Council, acting as an ambassador and champion for Oldham and the Council in dealing with the community, businesses, voluntary and community sectors and other local and national organisations, other than in respect of ceremonial events.