THE chief executive of Swindon Borough Council is to retire after almost 40 years in local government.

John Gilbert joined Swindon in 2008 as director of children’s services having previously worked for local authorities in Kent, Suffolk, Staffordshire and Shropshire.

He then became the director of children’s and adult services in 2010, responsible for approximately 70 per cent of the council's budgetary spend and was appointed chief executive towards the end of 2015, delivering the last three budgets for the council.

In a statement, Mr Gilbert, said: “After nearly 40 years in local government I have taken the decision to retire from Swindon Borough Council. I have spent the last 10 years working here at Swindon and it has been arguably one of the most enjoyable periods of my career.

“I have announced my intentions now, having just gained approval for the 2018/19 budget, with my departure enabling councillors to decide upon the appointment of a new chief executive before the summer recess.

“It also gives any incumbent a good opportunity to continue the very important work of the Swindon Programme. We now have in place a very strong corporate management team who are now well placed for the challenges ahead.”

He spoke passionately about the council he has served for the past 10 years, describing it as “a great authority” and noting the “fantastic time” he has had working with the staff there.

He added: “Finally, I would like to personally thank everybody for their support during my time here in Swindon, working with each and every one of them has been an absolute privilege.”

Council leader David Renard paid tribute to the chief executive.

He said: “I have worked very closely with John during his time here, firstly in his role as director of children’s services and then latterly as chief executive and I will greatly miss his leadership qualities and contribution.

“I would like to thank John for his commitment to the council and residents over the years and I’m sure everyone associated with the council will all join me in wishing him all the very best for his retirement.”