Croydon’s Improvement and Assurance Panel

A government appointed panel providing external advice, challenge and expertise, along with assurance to the Secretary of State as we continue to deliver our renewal plans.

Croydon’s government-appointed panel will provide external advice, challenge and expertise to the council, along with assurance to the Secretary of State as the council continues to deliver its renewal plans. They will measure the council’s progress against agreed milestones and report to MHCLG on a quarterly basis.

Government documents relating to the non-statutory rapid review and follow-up recovery and improvement work at the London Borough of Croydon  can be viewed at: GOV.UK - Non-statutory review of the London Borough of Croydon.

Panel members

Tony McArdle, independent chair and governance lead 

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Tony McArdle

Tony McArdle has recently been lead commissioner for the Government’s successful intervention in Northamptonshire County Council. He also chairs the SEND Leadership Board for the Department for Education and is an independent advisor to the current SEND Review. In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Tony was engaged by the Department of Health as regional convenor for the East of England, leading the engagement between government and local authorities. 

Tony was chief executive of Lincolnshire County Council between 2005 and 2018. He took up post at a time when the council was suffering from significant corporate governance and service failures and was under the immediate threat of government intervention. He left Lincolnshire with the authority enjoying a reputation as progressive and innovative, with a strong profile and an established record of high-quality service delivery.

Prior to moving to Lincolnshire, Tony was chief executive of the Borough Council of Wellingborough for seven years. He has held interim appointments in other councils and has also been involved in delivering elements of the Council of Europe's programme to improve local government practice in Croatia, Bulgaria and Russia.
Tony chaired the Association of County Chief Executives from 2015 to 2017. He also served as an infantry officer in the Army Reserve for 22 years.

Margaret Lee, independent external member (finance lead) 

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Margaret Lee

Margaret is the executive director of corporate and customer services at Essex County Council.
While the vast majority of Margaret’s career has been at Essex County Council, she has held many varied roles during that time, including: leading the implementation of a new general ledger and related finance systems; head of finance for social services before moving to corporate finance roles; statutory chief financial officer (S151) from 2007 to July 2019 and an executive director from 2010. Margaret is also the Senior Information Risk Owner (SIRO) for the council.

Margaret is a past president of the national Society of County Treasurers (SCT), was an SCT core advisor to the Local Government Association (LGA) and also sat on various national local government working groups. She was a member of the LGA Finance Peer Review team who reviewed Northamptonshire County Council in September 2017, and co-chaired a CIPFA panel charged with drawing up a new code of practice for financial management and planning, to improve financial resilience. She has also worked with CIPFA to draw up a paper on the role of the S151 for Local Enterprize Partnerships (LEPs). 

Her current responsibilities include overseeing the council’s strategy and policy development, ensuring there are strong links between the organisation strategy, service planning, performance framework and the budget, so that outcomes are delivered within available resources.
She is also responsible for the transformation and delivery assurance team (programme management office) which ensures savings and change programmes are delivered; communications and media; business support, performance research and insight, as well as the organisational health functions (legal services, democratic services, health and safety, business continuity, emergency planning and risk management)
And she oversees the customer facing services of libraries, registrars, coroners and contact centre.

Phil Brookes, independent external member (commercial and asset disposal) 

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Phil Brookes

Phil Brookes has been a crown representative at the cabinet office for the last six years and has worked with a number of the strategic suppliers to central government across facilities management and construction.

Phil previously worked in a number of senior roles in the construction and utility sectors, most recently with Balfour Beatty. He recently took part in the non-statutory review of Nottingham City Council, leading on the commercial analysis.

Jon Wilson, independent external member (adult social care)

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Jon Wilson

Jon is currently the director of adults and communities at Leicestershire County Council, responsible for the delivery of adult social care, and community and wellbeing services to residents. He is accountable as the statutory director of adult social services (DASS). His role also encompasses the delivery of cultural services, including library services, museums and archives, adult education and creative learning services. He is responsible for the overall management of the department, which has 1800 staff and £330m expenditure per annum, reporting to members and the chief executive on all matters relating to departmental performance, quality and risk. Jon is leading the department’s transformation programme, involving cultural change alongside efficiency savings and the delivery of improved outcomes for service users and residents.

Sector- wide responsibilities have included regional chair of the East Midlands ADASS branch, member of the East Midlands Clinical Senate and member of the East Midlands Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care.

Prior to joining Leicestershire County Council in May 2015, Jon worked for Nottinghamshire County Council for nine years, leading the provision of social care services to people with learning disability, physical disability, mental ill health and other associated care needs.

Jon started his career in social care in Sheffield in 1985 having moved there from his home town of Bradford to attend college in 1981. He is a social worker by profession, although has spent most of his professional life in management and leadership roles in both local authority and NHS organisations. Jon completed his formal education with the award of an MSc in Partnership Working in Health and Social Care at Birmingham University in 2006.