BARNSLEY Council is to replace one of its most senior officials with a high-ranking colleague from neighbouring Rotherham, it has been announced.

Rotherham’s current assistant chief executive, Shokat Lal, will join Barnsley Council as executive director of core services, replacing Andrew Frosdick who will leave his post in the summer.

The move completes changes at the council’s top level, with Barnsley Council confirming recently that existing officer Mel John-Ross would take over from executive director for children’s services, Rachel Dickinson, when she retires.

Councillors were told there were no internal candidates for Mr Lal’s position and that he will undergo a familiarisation programme similar to that undertaken by chief executive Sarah Norman when she arrived at then authority last year.

She was involved in wide-reaching activities to introduce herself to staff and learn about the council’s operations in the months after joining Barnsley Council.

Barnsley Council said the appointments process for both positions had been ‘rigorous’, involving the authority’s partners, staff and young people, though the final decisions were ultimately made by councillors.

Council leader Coun Sir Steve Houghton said: “I’m pleased to welcome Shokat and Mel into their new roles as executive directors for Barnsley Council.

“Our recruitment process was robust to ensure that we have the right people in place to help us drive Barnsley forward into the future.”

Mr Lal has worked for Rotherham Council since 2017 with responsibilities which span neighbourhood working, democratic services, communications and human resources.

He has played a role in helping to steer the authority out of government control, which was imposed following the child abuse scandal of the last decade.

He said: “I am excited to be taking up a new opportunity with Barnsley Council. South Yorkshire is a special place and I am pleased to be able to continue my career here.

“I will always look on my time at Rotherham Council with extreme fondness and pride.

“At times it has been challenging but ultimately it has been one of the most rewarding periods of my career,” he said.

Provided by the Local Democracy Reporting Service.