The head of Burnley Borough Council, Gill Taylor, has been appointed as the new chief executive of the Academy for Sustainable Communities (ASC).
Taylor will work alongside academy chair Peter Roberts at the Leeds-based centre, which was set up earlier in the year to support those involved in creating sustainable communities (AJ 03.02.05).
Speaking shortly after the announcement, Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott claimed Taylor's experience and knowledge 'would be a real asset in the crusade to build local communities fit for the 21st century'.
Prescott also made another attempt to explain the exact role and workload of the ASC - details of which remain far from clear.
He said: 'Creating sustainable communities is about more than simply throwing money at our towns and cities.
'To be successful there must also be sufficient people with the right skills and knowledge to ensure communities are places where people want to live now and in the future.'
He added: 'In some cases this will involve breaking down professional silos and in others it will mean connecting professional disciplines in new and improved ways.
'We need to identify what works best, where and why.'
One of Taylor's first tasks could be organising a Europe-wide skills symposium to share international experience and good practice. Prescott will raise the possibility of such an event at a meeting of EU Ministers in December and will also discuss sustainable communities. by Richard Waite