Jean Stretton, Leader of Oldham Council

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.

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 Councillor 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.

Jean is also 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.

Dr Carolyn Wilkins OBE

Carolyn is currently Chief Executive at Oldham Council where she has taken forward a significant programme of growth and reform through the Cooperative agenda.

She undertakes the lead chief executive role for Greater Manchester on a range of issues including Fairness, Equalities and Cohesion which includes the Inclusive Growth agenda, delivering the Complex Dependency programme as part of wider public sector reform, and the development of a Greater Manchester Leadership Framework.

She has significant public sector experience including time as a Chief Executive at Rossendale Borough Council where she led an improvement programme which saw the authority re-categorised from ‘poor’ to ‘good’, and rated in the top three councils to work for in Times Best Companies.

Carolyn is a member of the 2016 Guardian Public Leaders Board and the MJ Editorial Board. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Carolyn has held a wide range of other roles in her career including as a Non-Executive Director for Society of Local Authority Chief Executive (SOLACE), as governor at both Oldham and Accrington & Rossendale Colleges and as an Associate Fellow at Warwick Business School.

Carolyn has an MA in Literature with the Open University and a Masters in Public Administration from Warwick Business School.  Her Doctorate in Business Administration focused on the relationship between trust and control in organisations during times of significant change.

Carolyn was awarded an OBE in June 2016 for her services to local government. 

Tom Stannard, Director of Economy and Skills

Tom leads on economic development, skills, regeneration and investment for the council and across GM.

He is responsible for a multi-disciplinary team at Oldham, with a portfolio including:

  • Strategic lead on economic growth
  • Business engagement, enterprise growth and inward investment
  • Regeneration and capital projects
  • Property partnerships and investment
  • Asset management, estates and facilities management
  • Employment support including the Get Oldham Working Programme
  • Post-16 skills and lifelong learning services and strategies
  • Town centre management and markets
  • Co-ordinating the work of the Oldham Economy and Skills Partnership
  • Representing Oldham across GM, including implementing the GM Strategic Economic Plan

Prior to joining Oldham in 2015, Tom was Deputy Chief Executive at the Learning and Work Institute (formerly NIACE), a UK-wide charity running large scale R&D programmes and public affairs campaigns in the economic growth, skills, lifelong learning and employment support sectors.  His remit included policy and strategy, public affairs/government relations, communications/PR, marketing, and commercial activities, managing devolved nations staffing and public affairs activity, and Deputy CE across the UK operations.

His previous 15 years in local government included two of the best performing councils in the UK - Blackburn with Darwen (Lancashire) and Kensington and Chelsea (London). In 2011 he was voted "one to watch" in the Local Government Chronicle's 50 most influential UK Local Government figures, securing 2011 "Council of the Year" rating for Blackburn through economic regeneration, low council tax and consistent improvement in public satisfaction.

Tom is a Member of the UK Institute of Economic Development (MIED), a Board Director and Trustee of the Manchester-based Centre for Local Economic Strategies (CLES).