Carruthers builds resilience for ADEPT challenge


Ann Carruthers has set out her priorities for the year ahead as she stepped into the role of president of directors’ body ADEPT.

Ms Carruthers, who is director of environment and transport at Leicestershire County Council, took over from Anthony Payne at the organisation’s spring conference on Thursday (16 May).

She was previously vice president of ADEPT and the first female chair of Transport and Connectivity Board.

She is also a member of the Highways Sector Council and a Fellow of the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation.

Speaking to The MJ, she said: ‘We’ve had loads of challenges with funding in terms of local government, in areas like adult and children’s social care, housing, and so forth.

‘The probably inadequate funding models for those services leave place services even more under pressure. Place services are discretionary, and they are the ones that have to shrink to absorb some of that pressure in other areas.’

In her inaugural address at the ADEPT President’s Awards, Ms Carruthers outlined her key priorities for the year, which will focus on building resilience.

This will include:

  • Resilience across place services in what and how we deliver
  • Resilient organisations against a backdrop of changing local government landscape
  • Resilience for ourselves and our people.

Ms Carruthers defined resilience across place services as ‘what will we be delivering in the future to ensure we are creating resilient places that are adapting to climate change and driving forward decarbonisation, with limited funding’.

In terms of resilient organisations, she said: ‘We are seeing many structures evolving – combined authorities, devolution deals, no devolution deals and that’s on top of unitary/two tier structures; how as place leaders do we ensure our places benefit regardless of the structures we operate in?

On the issue of ADEPT members’ personal resilience and that of local authority staff, she said: ‘Being place leaders has never been more challenging; how do we look after ourselves and encourage the next generation of place leaders to step up to the mark while motivating our teams in what is a challenging sector given public and political expectations?’

Before joining Leicestershire CC in 2017, Ms Carruthers worked with local authorities across Scotland and England, including Edinburgh City Council and Kent County Council.

She also spent time in New Zealand, working for the agency managing the country’s state highway network.

In a post on LinkedIn on Friday she wrote: ‘Truly honoured to have taken over as ADEPT President yesterday for the coming year. I have the tough act of Anthony Payne to follow.

‘He mentioned yesterday he was asked what his first act as president was when he took up the mantle.

'Mine is breakfast then let's get on with it! Day 1 and loads to do.’

See this week's MJ for the full interview

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