Bassetlaw District Council chief executive retires after 40 years in local government
It has been a devoted slog for Neil Taylor, who is retiring as chief executive of Bassetlaw District Council after a whopping 40 years in local government.
Mr Taylor is hanging up his hat after well over a decade of helping to deliver services in Bassetlaw while steering the authority through austerity, cuts and the recent pandemic.
Leaving school after his A-levels in Cornwall, Mr Taylor began his career in local government at Caroden Council, working in the rates office as part of a work experience scheme.
He later moved to the London borough of Hackney, where he qualified as an accountant.
"That really was the making of me,” said Mr Taylor. “As it opened a lot of doors to me.”
He was then snapped up by East Hampshire District Council, working as a group accountant.
Mr Taylor later landed the role of assistant city treasurer then acting treasurer on Bath City Council before the authority became Bath and North East Somerset Council.
He had a spell on Rutland County Council before finally joining Bassetlaw District Council as director of resources in 2007, later becoming the chief executive.
Pondering the highlight of his career in Bassetlaw, Mr Taylor said: “I think bringing the Savoy Cinema to Worksop was really something and required a lot of tenacity, as well as building quality social housing for the first time in a generation.”
Asked if his job had changed over the years, Mr Taylor said: “Most definitely. Things have certainly picked up pace, with new technology meaning the council receive a lot more immediate service requests. Emails alone have increased by 67 per cent.
"In the last few years the council has gone cashless, uses a lot more IT and now shares the Queen’s Buildings with the Department for Work and Pensions and Nottinghamshire Police, and shortly the NHS will be moving in. Keeping key services like this in Bassetlaw is crucial.”
New challenges arose for Mr Taylor and the rest of the council with the arrival of the coronavirus pandemic.
"I think it’s a great tribute to staff, who responded in the same way as we saw during the Worksop floods,” he added.
”Everyone did their bit. Refuse trucks being sent out two weeks into the pandemic being cheered said it all. We worked hard to keep those public services up and running.
"The team spirit that staff have shown during the different phases of the pandemic has been incredible.”
In terms of the future, Mr Taylor joked: “I’m going to have a bit of a rest after a fair old career. People get prison sentences more lenient than 40 years.
"And in the past 14 years, myself and many others have worked to completely transform Bassetlaw District Council.
"The internet and social media changed the way we have to work, and not always for the good.
"We’ve survived a decade of austerity and, every year, lost around seven million pounds in Government funding.
"But we are still here, and working to improve things all the time. The pace is not slowing down.
"I’d urge people not to take their local council for granted. It has been an honour.”