First female council chief executive for Midlothian

Midlothian House, Buccleuch St Dalkeith 19/2/18
Midlothian House, Buccleuch St Dalkeith 19/2/18

Councillors last week approved the appointment of Dr Grace Vickers as Midlothian Council’s first ever female chief executive.

Dr Vickers will take over from the current chief executive Kenneth Lawrie, who is moving to the same role with Falkirk Council in August. Dr Vickers is currently Midlothian Council’s head of education. Speaking at the full council meeting, council leader, Councillor Derek Milligan congratulated Dr Vickers. He said: “The calibre of candidates was extremely high. However, we are confident Grace is the right person for the job. Elected members and staff are already looking forward to working with her in her new role.

New Midlothian Council cheif executive Dr Grace Vickers.

New Midlothian Council cheif executive Dr Grace Vickers.

“With increasing demand for our services and budget constraints, there are extremely testing times ahead. That said, I’m confident Grace will embrace those challenges, ensuring Midlothian is a modern, forward-looking local authority and ‘a great place to grow’.”

SNP councillor Debbi McCall added: “I’m delighted that we have our first female chief executive. I think it’s really important. To be a fantastic role model, you have got to see it to want to be it.”

Provost, councillor Peter Smaill added his congratulations and thanked outgoing chief executive Kenneth Lawrie and wished him luck for the future. Adding: “I hope you will fondly remember Midlothian.”

Dr Vickers was one of six candidates interviewed by a cross-party appointments committee. Councillors on the appointments committee agreed she was the preferred candidate, subject to full council approval.

Dr Vickers joined the council in March 2015. She is a former secondary school head teacher and quality improvement manager with the City of Edinburgh Council.

Cllr Milligan said Dr Vickers’ record as head of education is “exemplary”. Adding: “The service has gone from strength to strength under her guidance. Attainment is rising, a record number of school leavers are sustaining a positive destination such as a job or further education course and the council has just opened its first Centre of Excellence in digital skills.”

Dr Vickers said: “I am delighted to be appointed the chief executive of the fastest growing local authority in Scotland. We have many challenges, and opportunities and I strongly believe we have the very best people in Midlothian to help us build on our strong foundations so that we can make a real difference to the lives of our citizens.”