Chief executive and directors

Chief executive and directors

Our chief executive and directors are our most senior officers.

They are responsible for the day to day leadership and management of our services and are accountable for delivering the priorities set out within our Council Plan.

They work very closely with the leader and cabinet to ensure that the organisation understands and responds to the direction and leadership set out.

Chief executive


Pam Smith

Our chief executive is Pam Smith.

Pam joined us as chief executive in January 2022, having been chief executive at Stockport Council since 2017. 

In her previous role she was also Greater Manchester’s lead chief executive for the Age Friendly Greater Manchester partnership and she continues to be the Solace network's lead spokesperson for housing.

Pam was previously chief executive at Burnley Council and has also worked for the Audit Commission.

Pam joined us at a time of great change and opportunity as the city seeks to emerge strongly from the pandemic.

Pam is passionate about people, communities and neighbourhoods and is eager to work with residents and colleagues from across the region to achieve the best outcomes for the people of Newcastle.

Leveraging the opportunities that levelling up and devolution offer she is working to secure outstanding schools, excellent jobs and high-quality homes to make Newcastle one of the best places in the world to grow up, work and live.

If you would like to contact the Chief Executive please:

  • write to: Chief Executive, Newcastle City Council, Civic Centre, Newcastle, NE1 8QH
  • call: 0191 211 5001

Adult Social Care and Integrated Services

Adult Social Care and Integrated Services includes:

  • adult social care (including social work, safeguarding, learning disability and autism, and mental health)
  • day centres and short-term support
  • reablement
  • our Shared Lives service
  • our Active Inclusion service

Alison McDowell

Alison McDowell is our director of Adult Social Care and Integrated Services.

Alison started her career in Sunderland in 1997, as a social worker for older people. She maintains a strong belief that all older people should be:

  • properly valued and listened to
  • treated with compassion, dignity and respect at all times
  • cared for by skilled staff who understand their particular needs and who have time to care

Educated at Newcastle University she gained an honours degree in theology and comparative religious studies before moving to Edinburgh University to complete postgraduate studies in social work.

Alison she is responsible for providing leadership in social care for adults within the city, ensuring that:

  • people with disabilities can live independent lives
  • effective support arrangements are in place for mental health related conditions
  • vulnerable adults at risk of abuse are safeguarded

Alison is passionate about creating and delivering excellent services for people who require care and support.

She leads on the change agenda for implementing new delivery models for the services, with a focus on:

  • ensuring that effective provision is maintained and improved
  • driving major transformational change to care models
  • promoting innovation
  • working towards enabling people to live their best life

An important aspect of her role, that Alison is fully committed to, is to champion the voice of people needing social care by ensuring that the services delivered are consulted on or co produced.

Alison is currently developing and delivering a coherent, integrated framework, in partnership with the NHS partners and other agencies, ensuring the most appropriate care arrangements are available.

    Children, Education and Skills

    Children, Education and Skills includes:

    • children's social care
    • education and skills
    • family support

    Judith Hay

    Judith Hay is currently our director of Children, Education and Skills.

    Judith has 40 years’ experience in local government children’s services. She has vast experience of driving transformational change in children’s services. She is director of Children Education and Skills in Newcastle City Council.

    Judith received an OBE in 2018 for services to child protection in North Yorkshire where she was assistant director for eight years. This culminated in the local authority becoming the first in the sector to receive Ofsted ratings of "outstanding" across the board.

    She has received numerous awards in media, innovation and transforming culture, including runner up in the Guardian newspaper public servant awards.

    Judith has a BSc in government and public policy, an MSc in systemic management, is a qualified social worker and practice teacher and has a diploma from the Chartered Institute of Management.

    She is passionate about transforming work for children young people and families.

      Cath McEvoy-Carr

      Cath McEvoy-Carr is due to join us in May 2022 as the new director for Children, Education and Skills.

      Cath joins us from Northumberland County Council, where she has been Children’s Services director since 2016.

      Cath’s career began with Sunderland City Council where she worked as a social worker during the early 1990s, before she moved to North Tyneside Council where she remained for ten years.

      She then worked as an Ofsted inspector before joining Northumberland County Council.

      At Northumberland she has also had responsibilities for adult social care and duties as deputy chief executive.

      City Futures

      Our director of City Futures recently retired.

      City Futures includes:

      • communications and engagement
      • events and culture
      • policy
      • links to Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums
      • economic development

      Operations and Regulatory Services

      Operations and Regulatory Services brings together some of the most visible services for residents, communities and businesses including:

      • street services (refuse collection, cleansing and grounds maintenance)
      • parking services
      • waste contracts
      • building maintenance and commercial works
      • civic management and facility services
      • community hubs and library services
      • regulatory services (including licensing and trading standards)

      Christine Herriot

      Christine Herriot is our director of Operations and Regulatory Services.

      Christine has a strong track record of transformational leadership, including the implementation of organisational wide improvement and culture change programmes.

      Christine graduated from the Open University in 2003 with an MBA. She manages a workforce of around 1700 staff.


        Our Place directorate includes:

        • planning
        • highways
        • property
        • housing
        • commercial services

        Michelle Percy

        Michelle Percy is our director of Place.

        Michelle’s role is to deliver a major change programme and shape our approach to becoming an enterprising council.

        Michelle joined us as lead assistant director of commercial development in October 2016.

        Prior to joining us Michelle played a leading role in a Newcastle based property company and the initial phases of the Stephenson Quarter – a 10 acre regeneration site next to Newcastle central station, containing several listed buildings, within a conservation area.

        Given Michelle’s background and experience in the property sector she took over the strategic property team in 2017 and then in 2018 all of the property services function to support the council’s ongoing transformation of its assets.

        In September 2019 Michelle took the role of director of Place.


        The resources directorate includes:

        • human resources (HR)
        • IT
        • finance (including revenues and benefits)
        • legal services
        • audit and insurance
        • business management

        Tony Kirkham

        Tony Kirkham is our director of Resources.

          Public Health

          Eugene Milne

          Professor Eugene Milne is our director of Public Health.

          Originally from Hull, Eugene first came to the North East as a student to study medicine at Newcastle University. 

          His early career saw him working across the region, and in Cambridge, in paediatric medicine, before he joined the children’s cancer unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary. 

          He switched to public health in 1990 and became a consultant in 1994, working for Newcastle and North Tyneside Health Authorities. He then became deputy regional director of public health for the North East, and played a leading role in setting up the award-winning anti smoking scheme Fresh in 2005.

          He joined the newly formed Public Health England in 2013 but continued to live in Newcastle and, in 2014 jumped at the chance to become Newcastle's director of Public Health.

          Eugene plans to retire in April 2022.

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