Two Directors, who together have clocked up almost 80 years’ experience in local government, are preparing to step down from their roles at West Lancashire Borough Council.
Bob Livermore, Director of Housing and Inclusion Services, retires in December after a career spanning 43 years while Graham Concannon, Director of Street Scene Services, leaves in October after 36 years of service.
Graham began his career at the then West Lancashire District Council in 1980, working on sewer repairs. He progressed through a number of different roles, gaining a degree and undergoing a variety of training, until he took over sole responsibility for Street Scene in 2003, managing a workforce of around 140 delivering the refuse and recycling service, grounds maintenance and street cleansing.
The Street Scene service has been transformed under Graham’s leadership, with the introduction of wheelie bins throughout the area and alternate weekly collections for household waste and recycling. He rates his greatest success as the massive increase in recycling in the borough: recycling rates have rocketed from just 6% in 2003 to almost 50% today.
Other major achievements have included the successful development of the £4 million waste transfer station at Robert Hodge Centre, Skelmersdale, which has brought greater efficiencies and savings, and the introduction of a brand new fleet of vehicles under a leasing agreement. The work of the grounds maintenance team, which won back the contract against competition from private companies, contributed to the success of Coronation Park and Beacon Country Park in gaining and retaining Green Flag status.
Graham said: “When I started at West Lancs I was, quite literally, digging holes. I have been fortunate to have worked my way up and almost 37 years later am leaving as director. West Lancs has been a fantastic Council to work for, giving me opportunities to learn and develop, and I have worked with an amazing team – all the success is down to them. The teams who work at the front line are the unsung heroes of the borough and do a fantastic job. So I’m sad to leave while at the same time looking forward to new adventures.”
Along with spending time with his grandchildren, Graham is aiming to spend more time on the golf course and is also planning some serious walking along the Pennine Way and the Coast to Coast footpath.
Bob has spent all of his 43 year career in housing services within the public sector. He started in 1973 for Haringey Council in London and worked for local authorities all over the country before moving from North East Lincolnshire Council to join West Lancs in 2001.
At West Lancs, he leads a team of 175 staff who manage just over 6,000 Council houses, flats and bungalows. He is also responsible for maintenance of Council offices and other public buildings.
Looking back over his time at West Lancs, Bob highlights as a major achievement the £8 million Firbeck Revival, completed in September 2016, which involved the refurbishment of many council properties and the construction of 42 brand new homes for rent. Another major success was the £1.7 million project to build 17 houses and bungalows at Elmstead in Skelmersdale, which when completed in 2011 were the first council homes built in West Lancashire for 15 years.
Under Bob’s leadership, local authority housing finance has been transformed with the move to self-financing arrangements. This enabled around £80 million to be invested in improving the housing stock over a five year period, bringing real benefits to thousands of tenants. Thousands of homes have had new bathrooms, kitchens, doors and double-glazed windows. New roofs, insulation, solar panels and energy-efficiency measures have been installed in many properties.
Bob, who is also a Director of ARCH (Association of Retained Council Housing), said he would look back on his time at West Lancashire Borough Council with pride, while also being sad to say goodbye to colleagues and friends. He said: “I have had a really enjoyable time working here in West Lancs. I have mixed feelings about leaving – I’m sad to leave a great organisation, whilst at the same time I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family, particularly my grandchildren.”
The Council is currently recruiting to both director posts on a like-for-like basis, following the restructure of the senior management team in March 2016.
Councillor Ian Moran, Leader of West Lancashire Borough Council and portfolio holder for Transformation and Economic Regeneration, said: “I want to thank Graham and Bob for their tremendous contribution to West Lancashire Borough Council over the years and to the services we provide for people living and working in the area. They have both achieved a great deal, and will be hard acts to follow.”