Kim McGuinness chairs first Cabinet Meeting as North East Mayor

Published 07/05/2024 by Anja Swan


The historic first meeting of the North East Combined Authority took place today, chaired by the first North East Mayor Kim McGuinness. 

Leaders of seven local authorities in the North East, which make up the Cabinet, met in County Hall, Durham to take a set of decisions that will underpin how the new organisation will function, including a constitution and an assurance framework to support investment and funding decisions. 

The Mayor opened the meeting by setting out her first priority is to improve public transport and announced she has instructed officers to start the process to take greater public control over the region's buses.   

North East Mayor Kim McGuiness said:  

“I’m delighted we’ve made it here today. It’s a historic day for our region. We’ve gained more powers from London, bringing decision making into our communities who will have more of a say over our future. 

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to every leader and deputy leader for their incredible hard work securing the best devolution deal in the country and getting us to day one. 

“Our job is the best in the world and regardless of political party, we are all unified in our drive to make things better for the 2.1m people who live right across our region. Together we will make sure our impact spans our villages and towns, on the coast, in the cities and countryside and that’s a great place for us to start our journey. 

“We will deliver more jobs, build more homes and fix our broken transport system and get our great North East on the national and international stage – which is what we deserve. 

“The first thing I did this morning when I came into the office is instruct officers to start the process to take back control of our buses.  It’s something that residents have told me it’s really important to them, so I’m pleased we are able to start that process today.” 

A number of other appointments were made for staff in non-political roles. These included Henry Kippin as Chief Executive, Janice Gillespie as Director of Finance, John Softly as Monitoring Officer and Gavin Armstrong as Scrutiny Officer. 

Lucy Winskell OBE, was appointed as Chair of a newly formed business board. 

The Cabinet also approved governance arrangements setting out how decisions will be made about investments and the recommendations of an independent renumeration panel which sets the allowance of the Mayor. 

The next North East Combined Authority Cabinet meeting will take place 2pm 11 June 2024 at Gateshead Civic Centre.