Lead Advisors

ACCE Lead Advisors are responsible for individual policy areas, and act as a voice for ACCE and as key contacts for CCN officers advising on policy development and advocacy.


Kate Kennally, Cornwall Council – Lead Adviser for Climate Change

Kate joined Cornwall Council in January 2016 as Chief Executive. With a background in people services, Kate is passionate about improving the life chances of the people of Cornwall through inclusive economic growth and through empowering communities to get involved in the delivery of public services.

Since moving to Cornwall, Kate has accelerated the transformation and improvement of Council services resulting in a reconfiguration of roles and responsibilities within Cornwall, deeper partnerships across the public sector, underpinned through the Council’s double devolution approach. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, Kate has worked with partner organisations to effectively suppress the virus, whilst welcoming a record number of visitors during the summer season as well as providing trusted guidance and assistance to Cornish residents and businesses.

Kate is determined that Cornwall should be a leader in tackling climate change and improving the Cornish environment and is leading the Council’s work to become carbon neutral by 2030, twenty years ahead of the Government’s target of 2050.  The climate change plan includes a Forest for Cornwall, powering new homes with alternative energy, and making energy efficiency improvements to existing Council owned housing. Kate has been instrumental in working with Government to develop Spaceport Cornwall, a project between Cornwall Council, The Local Enterprise Partnership, Goonhilly Earth Station Ltd and Virgin Orbit, to provide horizontal satellite launch from Cornwall Airport Newquay by 2022, creating high paid jobs in Cornwall in a globally growing sector. This project will put Cornwall on a global stage, which will support both local growth and the entire UK satellite industry.

Kate is keen to further promote Cornwall to the world through the window of the G7 summit in June 2021, leaving a lasting legacy that will unleash Cornwall’s potential to trailblaze natural solutions to the ecological and climate crises facing our planet to benefit future generations.


Dr Martin Reeves, Oxfordshire County Council – Lead Adviser for Housing, Planning, and Infrastructure

Martin has been Chief Executive of Oxfordshire County Council since March 2023. He was previously Chief Executive of Coventry City Council for over 14 years and was also the Chief Executive of the West Midlands Combined Authority from March 2016 to September 2017. He had previously been with Bedfordshire County Council for three and a half years as Assistant Chief Executive and Chief Executive.

Martin has held strategic leadership roles in a District and an outer London Borough and was Programme Director for Work Smart, Westminster City Council’s flagship transformation programme.

Martin spent much of his early career as a lecturer and researcher and has a PhD in applied economics.

He has an Honorary Doctorate from Coventry University in recognition of his service and commitment to the City of Coventry and is the first Honorary President of LARIA (Local Area Research and Intelligence Association).

He is a former President of SOLACE (Society of Local Authority Chief Executives & Senior Managers) and is the current Local Government Association (LGA) National Procurement Champion.

Becky Shaw, East Sussex County Council – Leader Adviser for Leadership and Transformation

Becky Shaw has been the Chief Executive of East Sussex County Council since 2010 and the Chief Executive of West Sussex County Council since 2020. Prior to joining ESCC as Assistant Chief Executive, Becky worked for three London Boroughs in policy and governance roles and latterly in housing at Westminster City Council.

East Sussex has built a strong reputation for robust and open business planning focussed on driving sustainable economic growth, keeping people safe and helping people help themselves. Becky was asked to become Chief Executive of West Sussex County Council in 2020 to drive forward their improvement programme through a new model of peer support between the two councils.  Becky has strong track record of effective partnership working across tiers and sectors with East Sussex leading both Transport for the South East (the regional Sub National Transport Board) and the South East 7 grouping of upper tier councils.  Becky chairs the South East 7 Chief Executive’s group, is the South East regional lead for liaison with the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, the County Council Chief Executives spokesperson for Leadership and Public Service Reform and has previously been the SOLACE policy lead on Leadership and Development.

Becky is a trustee of the Lloyds Bank Foundation which supports small voluntary sector organisations working with adults with complex needs and also of the Rona Sailing Project which provides sail training for young people and therapeutic voyages for adult groups with a range of needs.

Debbie Barnes, Lincolnshire County Council – Lead Advisor for Children’s Services and Education

Debbie Barnes was appointed to Chief Executive of Lincolnshire County Council on 1st January 2020.  Prior to this, Debbie was Director of Children’s Services and held this position since 2013.

During her time as Interim Head of Paid Service, Debbie led the development of the ten year Corporate Plan for the Council and has driven through a one council approach, integrating service planning and delivery across the council and with partners. This was highlighted as good practice during the Local Government Association Peer Review.

Through Debbie’s leadership, Children’s Services Social Care has been judged as good with adoption rated as outstanding.  Recently designated as a Partner in Practice, Debbie has chaired the Improvement Board at Rotherham Borough Council, resulting in Rotherham being judged as good by Ofsted with services for care leavers judged as outstanding.

Under Debbie’s leadership, Lincolnshire County Council’s approach to support education has moved to a sector led approach which has received national and international interest.  Our approach has been shared at conferences in Switzerland, Scotland and Canada.

Debbie is married with 2 children.  Her husband is employed by Lincolnshire County Council as the Head Teacher of the Virtual School.  Her eldest daughter is 23 years old and living in Australia with her youngest about to start university in September.

Debbie enjoys cycling, swimming and spending time with family and friends. Debbie was awarded an OBE in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

Patrick Flaherty, Staffordshire County Council – Leader Advisor for Health and Social Care

Patrick has over thirty years’ experience in the local government sector and during this time has led a wide range of operational council services.  Previous roles include Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Somerset County Council and more recently CEO of the London Borough of Harrow.

Originally qualified as a civil engineer and transport planner, Patrick has considerable experience of managing area wide transport networks and delivering enabling infrastructure for economic growth projects.  For over two decades Patrick has led major regeneration and economic initiatives that have led to many major inward investments and growth.

Patrick also served as the Senior Responsible Officer and the independent Chair of the Somerset Integrated Care System, an NHS England appointment to lead the joint health and care system in Somerset.  Pat has expertise and experience in organisation operational and finance turnaround and improvement.

Anna Earnshaw, West Northamptonshire County Council – Lead Advisor for Health & Social Care

Anna Earnshaw has worked within local government for 35 years and across a range of services and challenges in both the public and private sector roles. Anna is the Chief Executive of West Northants Council, the 4th biggest unitary Council in the Country, which was formed in 2021 following local Government reorganisation in Northamptonshire that resulted in the County Council and 8 district and Borough councils being replaced by 2 new Unitary Councils. Anna led the work to safely create the new council which involved the transfer of 3000 staff, 600 systems and 500 contracts. Anna is a board member of the ICB in Northamptonshire and has worked closely with health colleagues across the system and region to trasform services and create better integrated care having previously been the DASS for the County Council since 2016. Anna is also a local government improvement advisor , mentor and peer reviewer bringing her wide experience to bear in helping other Councils and colleagues with their many challenges.

Lead Advisors
Richard Flinton, North Yorkshire County Council – Lead Advisor for Local Government Finance

Richard has been Chief Executive since July 2010 and has worked for NYCC for over 30 years – first joining as Trainee Trading Standard Officer, becoming Assistant Head of Trading Standards before using his background in economics to lead the Economic Development Team, then Assistant Chief Executive in 2005 followed by Director of Business & Environmental Services. As Chief Executive, Richard has covered statutory roles of Director of Children & Young Peoples service and Health & Adult Services at different times during the last 8 years and has detailed knowledge of the council and North Yorkshire.

Richard chairs North Yorkshire Chief Executives group, North Yorkshire Local Resilience Forum and in 2014 chaired the Local Authority Delivery Group which co-ordinated the delivery of the Tour de France Grand Départ in Yorkshire. Since the inception of Tour de Yorkshire, Richard has been a member of the Tour de Yorkshire Steering Group and more recently the Board of Yorkshire 2019 World Cycling Championships, leading local authority delivery arrangements. He is also lead Chief Executive for Yorkshire & Humber on children’s services.

Richard was admitted to the College of Fellows (CoF) during the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) Conference in June 2016. He is Honorary Secretary of The Association of County Chief Executives (ACCE) and also lead officer for ACCE on finance issues. He sits as a member of the national steering group looking at future local government funding. Richard was also appointed to the Ministerial Sounding Board for children’s services.


Angie Ridgwell, Lancashire County Council – Lead Advisor for Levelling Up and Devolution

Angie Ridgwell joined Lancashire County Council as Interim Chief Executive and Director of Resources on 3 January 2018 for one year but loved it so much she applied for the permanent job and was confirmed in post in October that year.

Prior to that she was Director General, Finance and Corporate Services at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS). A qualified accountant by profession Angie’s work has focused on improving public services.

Angie has worked in a wide range of public sector bodies and local authorities, principally as Chief Executive or Director of Finance. These include Bristol City Council, Thurrock Council, Coventry City Council and Bridgnorth District Council.

Angie has also worked in consultancy and as an associate with KPMG. Assignments include acting as Executive Director at the London Development Agency, advising the Board and Mayor of London on regeneration and economic development strategies; interim CFO at North East Lincolnshire Council to address issues arising from the collapse of the Icelandic Banks; London Borough of Greenwich; and Northamptonshire County Council.

In her latter career, Angie has focused on transformation situations, most recently overseeing the merger of two Government Departments to form BEIS and supporting Bristol City Council as it adapted to leadership under a democratically elected mayor.

Angie is married with one grown up daughter and in her spare time enjoys competing in triathlon.

Tom McCabe, Norfolk County Council – Lead Advisor for Transport and Infrastructure

Tom McCabe is Executive Director of Community and Environmental Services at Norfolk County Council. This role is responsible for a wide range of services including Norfolk Fire and Rescue, Public Health, Highways, Trading Standards, Economic Development, Culture and Heritage, Libraries and Community Learning.

Tom is also the Head of Paid Service for the County Council.

Tom has a wealth of experience in the public sector. He previously held the role of Corporate Director at Shropshire Council and Director of Environment at Cheshire County Council.  He has also worked for a number of county, city and unitary councils including Kent, Lancashire and Liverpool.

In Norfolk he is responsible for a number of significant infrastructure projects including the expansion of superfast broadband coverage, the Broadland Northway and the Great Yarmouth Third River Crossing.

He was previously the Non-Executive Chairman of the Norse Group and Chairman of the Strategic Co-ordination Group for Norfolk, having only recently stepped down.

Emma Alexander, Derbyshire County Council – Lead Advisor for Economy

Emma started her career in finance in the private sector and then took a role at her local council in Luton where her love for public service was ignited in roles ranging from finance to waste management. After Luton she moved to Leicester City and then Macclesfield, followed by a position as Corporate Director for Trafford Council and then Corporate Director at Oldham Council where she was part of the turnaround leadership team awarded the Most Improved Council accolade in 2012. Whilst at Oldham Emma took on the additional role of Managing Director for the Unity Partnership, a public-private Joint Venture Company. A move to the private sector as Business Services Director at Kier Group PLC preceded her return to local government at Derbyshire County Council where she is currently Managing Executive Director.

A University of Bristol graduate with a BSc in Geography, Emma is also an associate member of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants. A passionate team player, outside of work Emma competes in local netball and hockey leagues, these days feeling she brings more speed of thought than foot to the field. She also enjoys film, theatre, music, reading and likes to spend time getting grubby in the garden.