Innovative Chief Executive to take on new role

Wednesday, 21 November, 2018


Sandy Hopkins, who is currently Chief Executive at East Hampshire District Council and Havant Borough Council, is taking on a new challenge at Southampton City Council as its Chief Executive. 

Sandy has successfully led both East Hampshire District Council and Havant Borough Council since 2009 (and was the Chief executive at Havant from September 2007). 

Her passion and commitment for public services has seen her working in various roles within local government and she has an excellent track record for providing leadership that delivers success.

While Sandy has been at the helm of Havant and East Hants she has led: 

  • the merging of East Hampshire District Council and Havant Borough Council’s shared management team to maximise experience and skills and ensure residents get the best possible value for money 
  • the introduction of income generation so that this can be used to support services. Last year this saw £455,000 income generated from consultancy services at East Hants
  • encouraged a business-like culture within the organisations which this month saw East Hants shortlisted for the Local Government Chronicle award of 'entrepreneurial council’ of the year 
  • the regeneration of Whitehill & Bordon which is currently hailed as a national example of how to create a connected, green and healthy community 
  • the development of EHDC’s impressive commercial property portfolio
  • negotiated a £30million leisure contract for new centres and improved facilities without taxpayers paying a penny
  • secured £5.1m government funding for the 'Public Service Village' at Havant Public Service Plaza 
  • improved partnership working at regional and sub-regional level which included establishing the Eastern Solent Coastal Partnership which has secured £millions of external funding and is recognised as a national example of partnership working

In addition to her Chief Executive role at both councils, Sandy is currently Chairman of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Chief Executives' Group. Sandy also participates in national government initiatives to improve public services including the national Joint Chief Executives' Group and is the Hampshire Chief Executive on the national Local Government Association (LGA) Chief Executive Officer Sounding Board (see 'notes to editors' below for more details).

Sandy said: “Serving residents and businesses across East Hampshire and Havant has been an honour and an inspiring experience. I am extremely proud of what we have achieved for our customers and communities during my time as the Chief Executive. 

"I am especially proud of my amazing colleagues and the great work they do with professionalism and dedication every day. The councillors have been so supportive of the organisations and their vision and drive for their area have been so motivating.

“I am passionate about public services and getting up every morning to make a difference to people’s lives and the places they live and work is the best job in the world. 

“I am obviously hugely excited about taking on this new challenge with Southampton but will certainly miss all of my colleagues and councillors. 

“East Hampshire and Havant are both on fantastic trajectories to continue to achieve exceptional outcomes for their residents and businesses and they both have fantastic political support.

"I look forward to seeing them go from strength to strength."

Cllr Richard Millard, Leader of East Hampshire District Council, said: “Sandy has been a phenomenal chief executive. 

"She is utterly committed to making a difference to people’s lives and this shines through in everything she does whether it’s rolling up her sleeves to lug sand bags around to prevent homes from flooding - to shaping how we deliver our services at a strategic level. 

“She has led major change across our organisation and established our excellent partnership with Havant which has been hugely beneficial to both communities. 

“She will be an extremely hard act to follow."

Cllr Michael Wilson, Leader of Havant Borough Council, said: “Sandy spearheaded the shared management of Havant and East Hants and this has made a real tangible difference to how we deliver public services on a day to day basis. 

“She is innovative, creative, hard-working and passionate about everything she does and because of her we are a far better organisation and far better equipped to deliver services to our residents.”

James Hassett, Executive Director of Operations and Place Shaping at East Hampshire and Havant Borough councils, is also taking up a new role in Somerset - so he can be closer to his family. 

James, who started at East Hants and Havant as an interim director and stayed on to take up the job as a full-time director has been appointed as Chief Executive of West Somerset and Taunton Council which is a new role. 

While working at East Hants and Havant he has led the development of Havant’s new regeneration strategy.

He said: “Working for East Hants and Havant has been a great experience and has given me the skills and knowledge to take the next step up in my career. 

“I am really excited that I’ll be back with my family and shortening my commute to work."