Somerset Council's new boss named - and he could earn more than the Prime Minister

Duncan Sharkey is currently chief executive of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead Credit: Somerset County Council

The most senior role at a new, unitary, council for Somerset has been announced, with the winning candidate set to earn up to £200,000.

Somerset County Council has appointed Duncan Sharkey to the role of its chief executive. He will also take on that role at the new, unitary, Somerset Council in April 2023.

Somerset Council will replace Somerset County Council, Somerset West and Taunton Council, Sedgemoor District Council, Mendip District Council and South Somerset District Council after the government backed the idea in 2021.

A meeting of Somerset County Council on 15 June 2022 saw councillors agree that the post would have a salary range of £190,000-£200,000 a year.

Mr Sharkey has been chief executive of the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead since February 2019 and will replace Pat Flaherty, who has been in the role at Somerset County Council since 2014. He will take up the same post at Harrow Council in September.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Sharkey said it is "one of the most exciting jobs in local government".

He added: "I am honoured and thrilled to have been selected for the role. Bringing together staff from across five councils into a new organisation that will design effective new services for Somerset residents is a wonderful opportunity.

“It was a rigorous recruitment process, and I was very pleased to meet so many of the partners, colleagues and councillors I will be working with in the future. I was particularly pleased to meet a number of young people and talk to them about their ambitions for the future of Somerset.

“The new council, rightly, has high ambitions both for its services and for the county’s economy. I very much look forward to playing my part in its development.”

Leader of Somerset County Council Bill Revans said: “Duncan has the experience and ability to lead us into the creation of our new unitary council for Somerset.

“He will bring our staff together across all councils, be innovative in how we deliver our services and be a powerful advocate for Somerset on the national stage.

"He has the energy, drive and creativity to be an outstanding leader and of course he is already experienced in leading a unitary council. We look forward to welcoming him in the autumn."