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In conversation with... Joanna Killian

Published: 27 April 2018

Surrey County Council's new chief executive

Early March saw the arrival of Surrey County Council's new chief executive Joanna Killian. We caught up with her to find out what she's been up to so far and her plans for the future.

1. What are your first impressions of Surrey after being out and about in the county?

It's such a great place to live! Beautiful countryside, a thriving economy and easy access to London. Plus there are lots of friendly communities being supported by extraordinarily vibrant and active voluntary, community and charitable organisations. I've also seen some great examples of partnership working to address complex issues. The Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership is doing fantastic work, as are Frimley Health and Care and the Sussex and East Surrey health partnerships.

2. Did you see anything that you felt needed improvement?

After travelling around the county I've seen the impact that the winter weather has had on the condition of the roads. Congestion is clearly also a problem and I think connectivity could be improved, along with air quality.

3. So are those your immediate priorities?

Yes they are definitely on the list. Understanding how we can resource investment into our roads and pavements is very important for me. But there are also other priorities, especially how we support frail elderly people in our communities. Making sure we work effectively with all public sector partners is key to enabling these residents to live independently and age well in the county. Supporting our most vulnerable children and young people and making sure they are protected from neglect and harm is really important to me too.

Alongside that I will be leading a programme to transform the council so we can do more with less. That will include maximising the use of new technologies to reduce costs and provide services in a way that works for our residents and fits with their needs.

4. What about longer term? How will you steer the council to help Surrey become an even better place to live in the future?

I think we'll need to focus on economic growth by boosting skills and productivity and ensuring that our communities can be active in our vibrant economy. We also need to work with partners in both the public and private sectors to find housing solutions for our communities. We need to develop the sorts of specialist housing that some of our residents need – in particular extra care housing for older people and those with disabilities, as well as young people trying to get on the housing ladder.

5. Can residents influence what you and the council are doing?

Absolutely. I'm very keen to hear residents' views and to learn more about when and how they want to engage with us. I have a Twitter account @SurreyChiefExec or they can email me at

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